Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Different Christmas Poem


The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter, beside me, angelic in rest,

Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight,
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve,

My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But, I opened my eyes, when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps, outside in the snow.

My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door, just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.

A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!

"For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts.
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right,

I'm out here by choice.
I'm here every night."
"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.

No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at 'Pearl on a day in December,"
Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers.

"My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam',
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.

Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue. An American flag.
"I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.

I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother.

Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."
"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."

"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.

For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled .
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That, we mattered to you as you mattered to us.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Neighborhood Outdoor Christmas Movie Night

Baby it's cold outside, oooh
Baby it's cold outside, oooh
Baby Baby Baby Baby Baby Ba - Ba
Baby Ba Baby Ba Ba
Baby it's cold outside
~Family Song (we made it up :))

For the past two years our neighbors have been having a Neighborhood Outdoor Christmas Movie Night. The neighbors have a huge blow up movie screen to watch the movie on. They make hot chocolate and provide hotdogs for roasting and all of the makings for s'mores. They have a huge fire structure to cook our hotdogs and s'mores over and also have two chimineras for warmth. We all bring a side dish, our lawn chairs, and a bunch of blankets.

This year's double feature started with Home Alone followed by A Tuna Christmas. We only made it through the first movie with the kiddos but it is always so much fun! Today the high temperature was 71 degrees and a cold front came through just before we started the first movie and it was around 35 degrees. We were SOOOO cold!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Little Miss's Christmas Program

Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say
On a bright Hawaiian Christmas Day
That's the island greeting that we send to you
From the land where palm trees sway
Here we know that Christmas will be green and bright
The sun to shine by day and all the stars at night
Mele Kalikimaka is Hawaii's way
To say "Merry Christmas to you."

This year's wonderful Christmas program was "Christmas Around the World". Each of the classes sang a song from another part of the world. Little Miss has been singing Mele Kalikimaka for the past two months and was super excited to sing for all of us :)
These pictures are of her with her school class and with her teacher.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Chrismas Cookies 2008

I sure do like those Christmas cookies sugar
I sure do like those Christmas cookies babe
The ones that look like Santa Claus
Christmas trees and bells and stars
I sure do like those Christmas cookies babe
~ Christmas Cookies by George Strait

Yesterday we continued our family tradition of making Christmas cookies! This is by far my most favourite family tradition and my kids have come to love it as well.

Each year we all get together (this year it was me and Ryan and the kids, my mom and dad, his mom and dad, and my sister and her boyfriend) and make an entire day of lunch and Christmas cookie decorating. We all brought a batch of sugar cookie dough along with another cookie dough or dessert item. Each of us also brought our special cookie cutters to use.

Here are Little Miss and Little Man decorating their cookies. Little Miss did a really great job of decorating and Little Man was so into it this year!

We got to mom's house around noon and had a wonderful lunch of Andra's corn chowder. Then the decorating began. We made candy canes, bells, Santas, and reindeer. And then we made the not so traditional cowboys, fish, unicorns, and t-rexes. Lara's boyfriend was so funny this year, he kept making each cookie look like an animal, no matter what it was supposed to be (my favourites were the bell that became a Christmas octopus and the candy cane that became a caterpillar).

(Here are me and my sister.)

Left to Right: Little Miss and MeMe (Ryan's mom) - Little Miss, Little Man, and Nana (my mom) - Ryan with his green glitter decoration gel :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Family Fun

These past couple of weeks we've been out and about. The weather has been nice and we've tried to spend as much time as possible outdoors before it gets too cold.

The kids and I spent some time with my mom and dad (Nana and G) on Friday the 21st. My Dad took them out riding on the riding lawn mower and then we all took turns racing across the yard.

Then we all went back inside and my Mom helped the kids make Thanksgiving cookies.

This last Tuesday the 25th we went with some friends to the Grapevine Public Library for their story time and puppet show. The kids loved it :) Little Man even stayed put for the whole show!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

ICE! at the Gaylord Texan

With winter apparently upon us (although you wouldn't know it by the 74 degree temp today) we headed out today to the Gaylord Texan Resort to experience ICE! "Visitors will feel as though they have been transported to the North Pole as they bundle up in warm parkas and enter this winter wonderland created with TWO MILLION pounds of ice and kept at a wintry 9 degrees."
One of the mom's from Little Miss's class (it helps to have friends in high places) was able to get our entire class and their families tickets to ICE! We met the group up at the Gaylord this morning, bundled up all of the kids, and headed into the ICE! tent.

It was breathtakingly cold in the tent (we've been down here in Texas too long :) ). Decked out in our snow suits and extra long jackets, we walked from room to room to see the dazzling coloured ornaments, a candy land full of tempting treats, and a life-size Santa's lap to sit on. The kid's favourite "display" was the ice slide! Little Miss and Little Man went down over and over again :)

After the super cold of the ICE! exhibit, we came back into the Gaylord to experience the fabulous Christmas and holiday decorations that they put out... sprawling miniature trains, a HUGE gingerbread house, and Christmas trees of every colour. All of the displays combined with the Christmas music that was playing was enough to get anyone into the Christmas spirit!

As you can see, Little Man had a bit of a rough day but by the time we left, even he was smiling :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Museum of Nature and Science

One of the mom's from Little Miss's preschool class has a membership to the Museum of Nature and Science so when she called and asked if we'd like to join them for a day at the museum we jumped at the chance.

Today's Little Explorer's theme was "Plenty of Pumpkins". We sat for a story about pumpkins, danced to some groovy music, and got a lesson on the anatomy of a pumpkin. Then we all went into the craft room to make pumpkin crafts including finger painting, gluing, colouring, and planting a pumpkin seed to take home.

With our crafts drying on the stroller we headed into the museum to check out the human body exhibit and play in the "Explore your World" Children's Museum. "Made up of five galleries, it is a place where children will learn about the world in which we all live." The galleries include: Little Urban Farm, Water Room, Explore Your Town, Explore My House, and Explore Your Backyard.

After we had our fun playing and learning at the museum we parked the strollers and dug in to our picnic lunch.

If you haven't been to the Children's Museum at the Museum of Nature and Science you are definitely missing out!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Decision 2008

Is all of the election coverage finally over??

After a 21 month long battle for the White House we have finally chosen a new president. Barack Obama has become our nation's first black president. John McCain and Sarah Palin fought the good fight and although he's not the man that I voted for and I really don't agree with his politics, it is encouraging to see that the American people have elected a black man as our president. I will continue to pray for the future of our country and will also pray that our new president look to God for the guidance that will be needed to lead our great country.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or Treat!

The very best part of Halloween
Is getting more candy than you've ever seen
I've got my scariest costume on
I scare myself with I'm all alone
Trick or Treat, Trick or Treat, Give me something good to eat
Trick or Treat, Trick or Treat, Give me something good to eat
- Trick or Treat by Geof Johnson

This year Little Miss was a Spider Witch (of course most of the costume came off within the first hour) and Little Man was a Knight with a Sword! Or as my father in law said, Little Man was immortalized as "Sir Huge Glowing Sword Who Will Challenge and Fight All Comers" and Little Miss as "Will 'O Wisp, black gypsy/witch who really just wants to dance/shake/boogeydown". Too true!

I decided to add a witch hat to my outfit and Ryan was Bob the Builder.

Instead of the usual trick or treating this year, our subdivision had a Halloween block party. We did it at a house down the road and had a great time. We ate hot dogs, chips, dip, candied apples, and chocolate dirt with worms! They had a DJ and the kiddos danced the night away (with Little Man chasing some of the other boys around with his super cool glow sword!).

Thursday, October 30, 2008

At the Halloween Parade

Little Miss's class had their Halloween Parade today! Of course that pretty much means that the teachers dressed the kids up, paraded them down the sidewalk, and we all snapped a ridiculous number of pictures :) The kiddos dressed up in their costumes and filed out of the church with their classes. Each child came up to Miss Karen who asked them what they were wearing and what their name was. It was too cute. Little Miss was an adorable Spider Witch. Little Man got to dress up before school this morning. Since his class is so young, they don't get to participate in the Halloween parade but they did dress up and take some class pictures before continuing with their Halloween inspired day! After the parade we all went inside to Little Miss's classroom and had a small Halloween party.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pumpkin Carving

FUN, FUN, FUN is all I can say about Pumpkin Carving this year!

The kids are just getting to that age where we can actually do fun stuff :) This year we decided that we'd try pumpkin carving with them. The kids had their pumpkins from the Pumpkin Patch and I bought some push in Jack O Lantern face pieces. That turned out to be a grand idea! The kids picked out which pieces they wanted and only needed a bit of help to get them pushed in. They turned out great!

Ryan and I decided to try our hand at carving this year. Ryan cut off the tops of the pumpkins and the kids watched him scoop out the guts. Little Man especially love the innards and kept asking if he could eat the seeds.

I cut one pumpkin and Ryan did the other. I used a template from a book that I bought and carved a black cat jack o lantern. It looks really good all lit up. Ryan drew on a scary face to carve.

Look how cute they turned out... We had such a good time making our Jack O Lanterns this year!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Miss Spider's Tea Party

One of Little Miss's bestest friends had her birthday party today. She had her big party at the Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch this afternoon and then a special friend party this evening at Let's Pretend in Grapevine. The theme was Miss Spider's Tea Party. It was a Mommy and Me type party and the girls had so much fun.

The girls each dressed up in their Halloween costumes (Little Miss is a Spider Witch this year). We all got there and took our seats. Then the wait staff brought out hot tea for the moms and "chocolate soup" (chocolate milk with marshmallows) and hot tea for the girls. The next course was a peanut butter and jelly finger sandwich rolled in sprinkles along with a fruit kabob, a cookie, and a small cupcake (talk about loading them up with sugar!). The girls loved it all :) They were so cute drinking out of their tea cups and acting so prim and proper. We moms dined on hot tea, turkey sandwiches, scones, and individual apple pies.

After "dinner" Miss Spider came out and talked about spiders, made balloon animals/wands for all of the girls, and read us Miss Spider's Tea Party by David Kirk. After that we decorated mini pumpkins and then we danced! Finally, all of the girls there lined up in their costumes and we paraded down Main Street for about a block or so.

Little Miss and the Birthday Girl had a great time!