Monday, January 31, 2011

Confession Number 82: We Were Busting with Pride

We spent a marvelous weekend at the farm with Weezie and Papa Lynn.  Tons of fun!  The weather was absolutely beautiful.  Perfect for us to get some much needed outdoor playtime, but yesterday reality struck and we realized that the weather isn't always perfect in Oklahoma and that we must return to the hustle and bustle of our regular lives, so we jumped in the truck and started heading back up I-44.

Arriving in Tulsa shortly after lunch time, we decided to stop at one of our favorite little cafes to grab a bite to eat.  It was nearly 1:00 and the church crowds were out in full force.  We didn't have to wait for a table, but the restaurant was crowded.  Luckily, we didn't have to wait long for our food and were chowing down on some yummy home cookin' in no time. 

Toward the end of the meal an older couple who had been sitting near us started to leave, but the gentleman decided to stop by our table first.  He tapped me on the shoulder....

Him:  Excuse me, ma'am?
Me:  Yes, sir?
Him:  We just wanted to stop and tell you what a well behaved young girl you have.  She has been just about perfect since you came in and we wanted you to know that.

Well, you should have seen how big and puffy Dustin's and my chests got with pride. 

Me:  Why, thank you sir!  How nice of you to notice that, well, yes, actually we ARE the world's perfect parents and we have raised, quite possibly, the most perfect child since Jesus himself walked on this earth. 

Okay, so maybe that was all in my head.  Of course, Dustin and I were very gracious and praised KJ on what a good girl she was and how other people had noticed what a good girl she was.  We then quickly finished our meal and headed back out to the truck.  Talking about our plans to head to the furniture store to find KJ a brand new big girl bed. 

Once in the truck she promptly stuck a pin in the pride balloon Dustin and I were carrying around as she cried and whined and threw a fit because we wouldn't let her play on the ipad.  Kids.  They sure do keep you honest, don't they? 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

UPDATE: Confession Number 47: I'm Torn

Editorial Note:  There is still time to enter the giveaway of my super cute Hootiemomma baby and children's gift items over at Nix9to5.  While you are at it, just go ahead and visit my Hootiemomma Etsy store!  The deadline for entering the drawing is TONIGHT, Jan. 26th at 11:59pm. 

Back last summer I wrote to you, begging for parenting advice, concerning our decision to send Kennedy to a private preschool a couple of days a week.  A recent post about the same topic (sort of) from my friend Megan over at Sorta Crunchy got me thinking about our decision, the outcome, and what we were going to do this coming fall.  I thought an update...and another call for advice....was in order. 

Thinking back on our concerns last summer, each of them either hasn't been as issue or has been replaced with something new, which, I think, is story of our lives for the next, oh, forever.  Here is a run down of the concerns I had last summer and where we stand with each of them:

Potty Training:  This one has taken care of itself.  While you all know about the issues we have from time to time at home ( has gotten soooo much better in recent weeks), we have NEVER (knocking on wood) had an issue with this at school.  Not once.  Whew!

Nap time:  This is one we still struggle with.  They don't nap at KJ's school, which is totally fine.  She doesn't always need one, but, more often that not, she falls asleep for a short cat nap at some point between getting home from school and dinner.  Unfortunately, this results in a very cranky girl when she wakes up.  We are torn between a very cranky girl waking up and a very cranky girl who is overly tired.  We've learned to live with this for two reasons.  The first is I'm not super excited about giving up nap time completely before Baby Brother Cole gets here.  I think I'll need it for momma's sanity this summer.  The second is that when we make the transition to public school, they still nap or have "quiet time" in the afternoons.  So I'm not too worried about preparing her for life without quiet time. 

Social Interaction:  This has been as great as I expected it to be, but comes with it's own set of issues.  She is a very social girl and we have had discussions about when to talk and when to be quiet more than a handful of times.  You can tell that she is a young three in her class with this issue.  Her maturity to be quiet when the teacher is talking just isn't there, yet.  I recently taught her how to pinch her lips shut with her fingers when she is told to be quiet and the report from school yesterday was that she sat there looking like a duck for much of the day.  On the flip side, I'd rather have this problem than an extremely shy child.  Of course, if you know Dustin and I....we are going to have a little social butterfly.  Our kids are just going to be wired that way genetically. 

Mommy Guilt:  Yep.  This went out the window within a few minutes of seeing her interaction with her teachers and the kids at school.  She loves it!  I would feel guilty if I weren't sending her.  As for me, the time apart has made me a better mom on the days we are together.  I rarely have to take Kennedy to Wal-Mart with me (which we both despise) and we can spend time playing and having fun the three days of the week she is home. 

So, now Dustin and I start asking ourselves the next question:  What to do next fall?  She will be old enough to go to the full day, public prek program, but I think we both agree that none of the three of us are ready for that.  So, the question is, what are we ready for?  How many days a week is going to fit her perfectly in her current school and what is going to adequately prepare her for full time, public schooling the following year?  As my friend Nicci posted last time, I understand that her educational future probably isn't solely balancing on the question of how many days of preschool she attends at the age of 4, but I do think it sets the "mood" for her future learning.  So, I'm throwing it back out there to all of you.  What is your best advice in regards to schooling?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Confession Number 81: I'm A Giveaway!!!

You've read about my friend Nicci over at Nix9to5 before.  We taught together for a few years, then were neighbors for a few years after that.  During the whole process we became great friends and moms.  This week she is celebrating hitting a blogging milestone with tons of great giveaways.  She has already thrown out a children's cookbook, a Scentsy gift set and some lovies for your little love and she has lots more. 

Well, today she has a very special giveaway.  ME!  Okay, before I scare all of you off she isn't actually giving away me the person, but she is showcasing Hootiemomma, my baby and children's gift line and Etsy shop.  Since I know you are all dying to get your hands on some Charla Matthews originals, get your bootie over to Nix9to5 and enter the giveaway right now!  Also, there is a little special something, something in it for EVERYONE that visits Nicci's blog.  So, what are you waiting for?!?!  Get over there right now and get ya a little piece of heaven.....ME! 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Confession Number 80: A Change of Heart

I'm not your typical girl.  I'm not your typical romantic.  It made more sense to me after I did a brief study on Gary Chapman's 5 Love Languages.  While a lot of my friends found that their love language is Receiving Gifts or Quality Time, mine is Acts of Service.  I show my love to Dustin, and others, by doing for them.  I love cooking for my family and friends.  I love helping out a friend in need.  I also feel the most love when others are doing acts of service for me.  My friends laugh when I say that one of the sexiest things Dustin can do is to empty the dishwasher or give KJ a bath.  That boy puts away the laundry and katy bar the door!!  I don't relish in receiving flowers, although they are great on occasion.  We don't lavish each other with gifts, although I don't hide the fact that pregnancy, labor and delivery come with a price best paid in jewelry. 

Dustin thought he had totally hit the jackpot when, during our first Valentine's Day together, he found out that I really despised the holiday.  If my memory serves me correctly we didn't buy each other anything for that first Day of Love and that tradition continued until only a few years ago after Kennedy was born.  Still, after 8+ years of marriage and another year of dating, we have never gone out to dinner on V Day.  I have never wanted to fight the crowds, fall into the commercial trap of one day with my dear husband being more meaningful or important just because of the date on the calendar.  I guess you could say I was an Anti Valentine's Day.  (Who knew that was turning into a money maker, also?)

Over the last couple of years, though, my heart has started to change toward the holiday.  On KJ's first special Valentine's Day we bought each other very small gifts, and as she has gotten older we have fallen into the trap of everything "cute" about the holiday.  Who wouldn't fall in 'love' with this set up from Pottery Barn kids?
What momma of a little girl can resist all of that pink and red as soon as you walk in the door of Hobby Lobby?  Who can turn their nose up at doing a cute craft with hearts and doilies with the special little someone in your life?  And who in their right mind (besides Nicci @ Nix9to5) doesn't like the chocolate that comes with the day?

So, yes, I've had a little change of heart.  Dustin and I even have special dinner reservations that night.  Maybe I'm a bit of a romantic after all. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Confession Number 79: We Are Having Fun

The little snow storm that came through yesterday morning covered us with a nice thick blanket of the white stuff and as much as it prevents us from getting around and doing everyday activities, it helps us to slow down a little bit and enjoy some nice family time.  With not many people getting out and about to stop by the bank yesterday, Dustin came home early to take Kennedy out to play in the snow.  We started in our own front yard, sledding down the small slope....

She was having so much fun!  Of course she quickly realized going back up the hill wasn't nearly as much fun as coming down...

Our friends, soon to be new neighbors, The Morrows came down and got us to go sledding behind the golf cart up at their grandma's house.  I have to say, I've sled behind a four wheeler.  I've sled behind a farm truck.  A golf cart?  That was a new one for me, but it worked great!  I guess it is sledding, Grand Lake style.  Kennedy took it slow....

Hannah and Jackson were a little more daring....

We had lots of fun spending time with each other and with some great friends.  Miss Megan even shared her delicious chocolate chip cookies with us.  So worth getting out in the cold! 
With area schools out again today, I sense a lot more fun in the snow in our future.  I guess all this white stuff does have a silver lining. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Confession Number 78: Here We Go Again!

Editor's Retraction:  Dustin came home for lunch yesterday and said, "you make me sound like a slave driver!" in response to a comment I made in yesterday's post on how the house wasn't going to be spotless when he got home.  In his defense, I would like to clear the air.  He, in no way, shape, or form requires a spotless house.  Actually, our house is never spotless, even if I did spend the day cleaning.  Oh, and that load of towels I said needed to be done?  They are still sitting in the hamper in the bathroom.  Yay for productivity!!  Ha!

January has hit again, and as I speak, fine little icy snow flakes are falling outside.  Dustin has already measured 3" of the white stuff in our front yard this morning.  I have to say, if I'm going to be stuck inside because of the weather, this is what I want.  It truly looks like a winter wonderland out my back windows.  It is simply beautiful, although I feel terrible for the little squirrel running around from tree to tree.  I sure hope he has a stash of nuts somewhere!  Maybe I should throw him a pecan.  Or an almond.  You think squirrels eat almonds?

I haven't moved too fast this morning, sitting here in my big fluffy robe with the fire going, half caff coffee in hand.  It is just kind of a slow day, although I do have high hopes for at least getting that pesky load of towels washed.  I'm nothing if I'm not ambitious.  I am planning a little Toy Story, Wii playing and, of course, snow playing.  But then what?  Chances are we'll be stuck inside tomorrow, too.  So, what to do then?  Here is my plea to all of you parents out there...What are your favorite snow day activities?  Once you can't watch another movie and you have exhausted all of the video game playing there is, then what?  I'm sure DHS would frown on me locking KJ outside.  I promise I would throw her a nut.  Of course, she might have to fight the squirrel. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Confession Number 77: I'm Being a Stay at Home Mom Today

I took a shower this morning and slid into some super comfy black lounge maternity pants and a grey t-shirt.  My feet went back into the new grey slippers I bought myself for Christmas.  My hair is still a mess and my make up has remained in it's bag.  At least I took the time to brush my teeth before kissing Dustin off to work.  You see, KJ and I are staying home. 

Since moving into our new home my stay at home mom routine has changed drastically.  There are chores to be done, errands to be ran and appointments to go to.  It seems like I'm always too busy doing everything else to do what I quit my "job" to stay home and do, which is to spend time with Kennedy.  To love on her and play with her and watch her grow and learn.  Our new routine works for us on most days, but there are times when we just need to slow down and have a play day.

That is exactly what we are doing today.  We've shared a yummy breakfast and danced to the Mickey Mouse theme song.  Later, we are going to do Valentine crafts and puzzles and this afternoon we'll decorate some cupcakes I had thrown in the freezer.  At some point we'll get her letter sack done for school tomorrow and we might even get dinner fixed for tonight.  So, honey, I'm sorry, but the house won't be spotless when you get home and the laundry probably isn't going to get done today (except for maybe the towels we NEED washed desperately), but I'm spending the day doing exactly what we wanted me to do almost two years ago when we made this decision:  Being Mom to our daughter. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Confession Number 76: We Finally Did It

First of all, I want to thank everyone for your prayers and kind words last week while we were awaiting my testing for gestational diabetes.  After being poked like a pin cushion, we finally got the results from my doctor that my blood sugar levels were perfectly normal during my three hour glucose test.  Yay!  They were actually very, very good.  I was so excited when we found out I celebrated with a glass of peach tea and some chocolate!  I'm not sure why I was so out of whack during the first test, but it really doesn't matter now.  We are so very thankful for a faithful God who continues to bless and provide for us and for great friends who support us no matter what we are going through.

We do have a little announcement today!  After much discussion and deliberation Dustin and I have finally agreed on a name for Baby Brother.  I'm so excited for him to have a name.  It just makes the entire pregnancy feel more real and makes us feel like he is already a part of our family.  Without any further delay....Baby Brother's name will be......
Colton Dean Matthews
We will call him Cole, but we liked the way Colton sounded with the middle name we had choosen for him, Dean.  Dean is Dustin's dad's middle name and we love the old flair and coolness that it adds.  Cole Matthews.  Doesn't that just sound like a football name?  I think so.  I think it is absolutely perfect and I can't wait to hold sweet baby Cole in my arms!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Confession Number 75: I've Turned It Over

I'm sitting here this morning in the waiting area at Integris Grove Hospital.  Thankfully, it is a beautiful, new hospital facility with a great waiting room.  Unfortunately, I'm here to be stuck, stuck, and stuck again.  You may have read on my Facebook that I was here on Tuesday for my routine glucose tolerance test.  I got the call late Tuesday afternoon that my blood sugar levels were are little high, so I needed to take another, three hour test.  So, here I am this morning, having fasted and enjoying the quiet time as I wait for my next blood draw.

I took the news that my blood sugar was out of whack much harder than I ever thought I would.  The thought of having gestational diabetes, the thought of not having the perfect pregnancy, hit me hard.  I was scared...for Baby Brother and for myself.  I was scared that 50% of women with gestational diabetes develops Type II later in life.  I was scared to learn that babies of moms who have gestational diabetes are at higher risk of being overweight, both at birth and as they grow.  I am mad at my body for, in my crazy mind, turning on me and not doing what it is supposed to do.  I'm worried about Baby Brother's sugar levels being stable after birth.  I'm mad because I don't have one, not ONE, risk factor for gestational diabetes.  I'm scared of getting sick during the test.  I'm aggrevated of having to have blood drawn four seperate times in three hours. 

Then I have to remind myself, this isn't a diagnosis.  I'm just having further testing done.  And no matter what the outcome, God is in control.  He is in control of this test, He is in control of the outcome and the health of both Baby Brother and myself.  Sometime yesterday I came to a great peace with this little bump in the road.  I completely and totally turned it over to God.  What else is there to do?  Me worrying about it and stressing over it isn't going to make it any better or make it go away.  It isn't going to change the outcome, but me turning it over to God is going to make me healthier, is actually me being able to DO something about it.  And for this control crazy woman, that is saying something. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Confession Number 74: I'm Speed Cleaning

We got a call from a great friend of Dustin's family last night saying that he was in the area and wanted to come up and see us.  We love Mike dearly and miss seeing him even more since he and his wife Janie made like geese and migrated toward the warmer weather, and their kids, in south Texas.  Dustin told him to get his butt up here and Mike said, "Great!  I'll be there around 11 tomorrow". 

Thankfully the house wasn't horrible.  Not great, but not horrible.  So, I'm in speed cleaning mode this morning because the problem with having a brand new house is that everyone wants the grand tour.  It is amazing what making the beds and sweeping the floors can do for a house.  I can't spend much more time here this morning, because I still need to get my Cinderella on, but I'm dying to know, what is your "clean house in a hurry" trick?  I think I'll need to resort to them more and more once Baby Brother comes and deep cleaning gets pushed to the back burner.

Who am I kidding?  Deep cleaning is ALWAYS pushed to my back burner!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Confession Number 73: I'm Getting Ready

This week marks the last week of my second trimester of this pregnancy.   In some ways the time has flown by and in other ways it has seemed to crawl.

Now I find myself faced with the long list of "must get dones" before Baby Brother makes his appearance.  To me, this is the fun part.  The part where we begin decorating the nursery, hanging the baby clothes in the closet and getting everything else done around the house.  I've been lost in baby mode for the last few days: checking out swatches of fabric online, thinking about buying KJ new furniture, and going through a tub of hand me downs from a friend. 

We, somewhat easily, agreed on a nursery theme.  We are doing vintage sports with the whole room being built around a jersey of Dustin's and a jersey of Papa Jerry's from long ago.  Each will be framed and hung on the wall.  Papa Lynn already gave Baby Brother his "first baseball" for display and I'm sure we won't have a hard time finding some old footballs and basketballs to put here and there. 

I'm loving shopping on Etsy this time around, which is where I found the main fabric for his room....

Hopefully I can talk Mimi into making his crib skirt.  There are also coordinating fabrics we can use for his curtains, blankets, etc.  And I'm infatuated with this custom made crib mobile on Etsy...

Which she will make in any fabric to match his bedding. 

There are so many things I want to get accomplished around the house before he gets here.  Finish the guest room, trying to make it as nice and comfy as possible for, what I'm sure will be, Weezie's extended stay.  Finish (or at least start) decorating our bathroom.  Reorganize and repurpose the upstairs playroom for two kids and to sleep an extra guest or two.  Find Dustin a desk for his office and, most importantly, get Baby Brother's room all ready for his big arrival.  That is a lot to get done!  I'm sure it won't all happen, but everything will be perfect, just because he will be here! 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Confession Number 72: January Isn't My Favorite

Brrrr.  It's cold here in our neck of the woods this morning and it looks like it is only going to get worse.  I've never been a big fan of winter.  I was an educator for Pete's sake.  What teacher says, "oh, I just LOVE January!"?  None.  Not one.  We LOVE June and July and some of us even like August.  But January?  Ummm.  Not so much.

Our first true taste of cold winter weather is moving in this week, complete with a dusting of snow, and I have to say, I'm not too excited about it.  I have things to do, people to see and a kid to take to preschool.  I'd really rather not do it with morning lows hovering around 9 degrees!! 

In the spirit of not being totally pessimistic on this Monday morning, I will admit that, yes, there is something magical about getting in some snuggle time with your significant other or little one in front of the fire, watching a movie, drinking something warm and frothy as the first snowflakes cover the ground.  I do love watching Kennedy's face as we play in the fluffy white stuff.  And it is pretty as it is falling on the trees and covering the grass.  I guess it isn't so bad, after all. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

Confesion Number 71: A Deja Vu Kind of Morning

A few months ago Dustin and I decided to buy up some of the lots surrounding our house.  They were a great investment for Dustin and for me they were insurance that we were going to have some physical space around our home. 
Fast forward a month or so later and some good friends of ours approached us about wanting to build a house in the neighborhood.  As soon as Dustin mentioned it to me, the first words out of my mouth were, "I want them to buy the lot next door!".  Dustin agreed and after a night of visiting the decision was made.  It was official.  They were joining, what I lovingly refer to as, "the curve". 
You see, we live along the back street of our neighborhood, smack dab in the middle of a big U in the street.  All but two houses that surround us have small kids. Maybe I should rephrase that.  All but two houses that surround us have small GIRLS.  Ten girls in five houses.  LOTS of young estrogen on our street.  To say that our street is girly is an understatement.  This past summer the girls across the street were having, what I thought was a lemonade stand over the 4th of July.  Um, no.  It was a makeover stand.  See what I mean???
We've become more and more excited about the neighbors moving in and building because of many reasons, but one is that they are adding three kids to the mix, two of which are boys.  While I feel somewhat sad that Jackson (the 5 yr old) is destined to a life of princess dresses and makeover stands, I'm super excited for Sam (the 5 month old) and Baby Brother to have each other to help fight off all of the girlyness around here.  I can't wait for the path to form between our back doors and for the joint parties I'm sure that will be taking place. 
Here was the scene outside our upstairs window this morning....

It brought back tons of memories of our own building experience.  We are on almost exactly the same timeline as them (you can read about our own building experience here, then follow the "I'm Getting Excited" series).  We know their anticipation, frustration and excitement.  Hopefully we can be a good source for them to vent it all!  Happy Building Morrow Family!  And welcome to the neighborhood!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Confession Number 70: Sometimes 'Crummy' Won't Cut It

I'm not a potty mouth.  I'm really not.  Excessive cussing really drives me up the wall. However, I do strongly believe that sometimes "shoot", "fiddle", "dang", or in the words of my mother, "fooey dooey" just won't cut it. 

Sometimes you need to drop a word for effect.  I *might* have whispered in a few teenage ears, "if you don't stop acting like an a*s I'm going to make your life miserable".  Normally that got a chuckle and their behavior turned on a dime.  Yes, I have great classroom management skills.  I might just write a book on it someday.  And I might have just ruined my chances of ever getting a job in education again.  Another of a million reasons why I like big kids, not little ones. 

Sometimes a certain word makes physical pain a little easier to bear.  Wanna know the first time I EVER dropped the f-bomb?  I ran, shin first, into the point on a marble top coffee table in my parents house at night.  Unfortunately, I was a teenager and mom and dad were in the room.  I think they laughed.  I have a permanent dent in my shin bone from that damn coffee table. 

Sometimes you just can't do justice in explaining your day to people without using a specific word.  For instance, Mom called the other day.  It was a little after noon and I was trying to get the house ready for company and a New Year's Eve gathering.  The conversation went something like this....

Mom:  So, what are you up to?
Me:  Oh, just trying to get things done around here.  It's kind of been a sh*tty day.
Mom:  (Giggles)  Well, okay.
Me:  Literally.  A sh*tty, sh*tty day.

Let me explain.  We've had issues with KJ and her, um, bowl movements (not sure why I'm being so politically correct all of a sudden) for a while.  You may have read about some of our issues here, here or here.  I guess I really like to write about poop.  Anyway, I knew she needed to go, so I sat her on the potty.  And left her there.  For like 20+ minutes.  Before you go calling DHS on me, I didn't LEAVE, but I knew she wouldn't go with me sitting there, staring at her, getting us both more frustrated by the minute.  So, I went in the baby's room, which connects to the bathroom and would check on her every couple of minutes. 
Well, I guess she had gone a little bit, but not enough for it to fall into the potty and when she squirmed around her seat it got all over her and the toilet.  Great.  Clean up job number one.  Yes, I said number one.  I clean her enough to get her into the tub, then proceed to clean her bathroom from top to bottom.  While I'm at it I might as well, right? 
After I was finished she still wanted to play a bit, so I told her I was going to go move the laundry over and I'd be back and we would get out.  Fast forward all of about 2 minutes.  I turn to corner into the living room and meet her, soaking wet, with brown hands.
KJ:  Mommy, mommy, I went poo poo in the potty!
Me:  Greeeeaaaattttt.

I guess what she meant to say was that she went poop, but didn't quite make it to the potty, so she picked it up and put it in the potty, but it was on her hands, so she proceeded to try to get it off of her hands by wiping them all over the potty, then tried to clean herself up by crawling back in the bathtub.  So, I cleaned her bathroom from top to bottom for the second time and moved her to my bathtub where I bathed her for the second time in like, 10 minutes.

Crummy, poopy, messy.  Nope.  None of them cut it.  It was just a sh*tty day. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Picture of the Week

I've decided to share a special picture with you each week.  It might be a new one, it might be from the "archives", but needless, it will be one that is special to my heart.  Without delay the very first Picture of the Week.....
Ahhh.  My heart is happy.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Confession Number 69: The Tale of Two Christmases

Christmas, for us, is a whirlwind time with family that we don't get to see often enough.  Some years we have  spent more time on the road than we do actually relaxing around the Christmas tree, but we love every minute of it.  The last few years we have settled into a Christmas routine that, for right now, is working for everyone involved.  We leave on the 23rd to travel to see my sisters in Enid.  My mom comes up on the 24th.  After opening presents on Christmas morning we drive to Texas to see Dustin's folks and spend Christmas evening, again, opening presents.  The drive is a bit long, but as long as there isn't a snow and ice storm that gets in our way, it is a welcome break between the sessions of tearing open gifts and allows KJ (and whoever is the privileged passenger) to take a much needed nap. 

The two experiences couldn't be further apart from each other in how they are handled and it is really quite nice that they each have their traditions and nuances.  On my side, Kennedy is the 8th of 9 grandchildren for my mom.  We don't see all of them each year, and their ages range from 17 to 3, but anytime you get a group of kids together you are going to have a bit of chaos.....

Kennedy is the only grandchild on Dustin's side (for a few more months) so, there, things are a tad calmer....

Because of it being Christmas morning and the arrival of Santa, things are off to an early start in Enid....

I have to say, this year wasn't so bad.  It was a little after 7:30 when everyone woke up for good.  Notice our nephew, Justus, sleeping in the chair in the background.  I think he moved in to check his loot around 2 am.  In years past the kids (our nieces and nephews) would wake us up in the 6ish range.  I have a feeling those years are in our near future with Miss Kennedy. 

The Matthews celebration happens much later in the evening, after a yummy Mexican dinner.  Usually with the sights and sounds of a football game in the background...

With so many kids, once we start opening presents, the wrapping paper starts flying and parents are doing well to know what their kids received until they start yelling that something isn't being packed up for the trip home.  Thank yous are yelled out across the room and one present might not have all the tape ripped off before they start digging in to the next one.  Again, this has gotten much better in recent years, as the other kids have gotten older.  Finally, once clean up begins, Kennedy gets to play with a present or two before they are packed up and sent to the car....
Later that night is much more calm and organized.  Aunt Mallory, as Santa's helper, makes each person a stack and we take turns opening gifts and offering proper gratitude....

Needless to say, each experience is totally it's own.  And it is perfect.  Kennedy spends the first couple of days of our vacation playing hard and going fast.  She has so much to do and so many people to command around it isn't even funny.  Then the last couple of days she gets to rest, have some KJ time (which she needs) and gets the undivided attention of her Texas family.  The first is hectic and a ton of fun, the second is relaxing and restfull.  It is the perfect combination and I wouldn't change it for the world!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Confession Number 68: I'm All About the Traditions

I feel like I can finally take a deep breath (figuratively, not literally, I am 6+ months pregnant.  I gave up breathing deeply weeks ago) after our usual Christmas travels.  Each year this time gets so busy and hurried and I realized this morning after looking over my little piece of real estate on the World Wide Web, that I haven't shared one single Christmas picture with you.  So, if you tune in to stay in touch with our little family, you'll love the next few days.  I'm preparing a montage of Matthews Christmas Traditions, starting with our trip to the Christmas Train.  I hope you enjoy. 

I love creating new traditions with our family and holding on to older ones.  The Holidays are the perfect time of year to practice family traditions.  Not to mention we make memories that Kennedy and, soon, Baby Brother (he still needs a name, poor guy) will cherish for a lifetime.  One of the traditions we started last year was to travel to Dry Gulch to ride the Christmas Train and see Santa.  This year Weezie and Papa Lynn were able to join us for our outing.  I knew Mom would love it!  Aren't they the cutest thing?

I love going.  Dry Gulch is an area created by Church on the Move in Tulsa that leaves you feeling like you spent an evening back around the turn of the century.  The 20th century, not the 21st, although those weren't such bad times, either.  The old time, steam engine train takes it's passengers on a ride through the creation, birth, life, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The live scenes are awesome and it is the perfect conversation starter with young children.  Kennedy was able to absorb much more this year and I'll surely be praying for a bit more guidance on how to answer her questions next year. 

It wasn't nearly as cold as it was last year, which was quite nice.  We also changed our plans and went on a Thursday evening.  HIGHLY recommended!  The crowd was less than half with a super short wait for the main attraction.  Here are the girls showing off their boarding passes for the train....

Like I said earlier, next year I'll try to be more mentally prepared for Kennedy's questions.  During the crucifixion scene the narrator said, "Jesus cried out, Father, Father!" and in her three-year-old very worried voice she asked, "Mommy, why is Jesus crying?"

One thing I love about the Christmas Train is that they do a wonderful job in combining the Christmas Story with the story of Santa.  I use Santa as a teaching tool with Kennedy on the importance of giving to others, especially those who are less fortunate than us.  KJ has always been super with the Big Guy and crawls right up on his lap.  This year, she even got to chat with Mrs. Clause...

With the crowd being so much smaller this year, I felt like we could actually relax and enjoy the entire Dry Gulch experience.  We wondered through the shops and, of course, shared some cinnamon roll and hot chocolate goodness at Barnett Bakery.  KJ and Daddy even took a spin on the carousel...

It was a great night and these are memories I'll cherish forever.  We'll see how it goes next year with a 9 month old, but this night is truly one of my favorites of the entire season!