Monday, January 27, 2014

Happy New Year!

So I figured I'd better get my "Happy New Year" post in before the end of January!

Most of you know Doug and I both graduated from Baylor University.  And most of you know that we love sports.  Those two typically don't go well together but this year the Baylor football team was on fire.  We had a blast at the Oklahoma game a few months ago so when Doug realized Baylor was going to the Fiesta Bowl he didn't hesitate to get tickets! 

Frugal me, I figured if we're going to fly to the game we're going to make a little vacation out of it.  Phoenix in the winter is perfect and our good friend Andy and his family live there too! 

Things started off great.  We arrived right around lunch time and decided to see what the guy from Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives recommended.  We ended up at a little diner called Perk Eatery where we had the BEST pancakes ever.  They were plain pancakes with maple syrup but so darn good!  So good that I literally ate them until I felt like my stomach was going to explode. 

Before the kids were around I surprised Doug with a birthday trip to Phoenix.  We stayed at the Biltmore and he played golf, we had massages and we hiked Squaw Peak.  So we were excited to try it again with the kids. 

I had absolutely NO idea how much they would love this.  They were like little mountain goats that trekked right on, not tired, not cranky.  It helped that the trail was full of Baylor fans and they got to say "Sic'em Bears" about 100 times. About half way up I was struggling so I faked the need to take pictures so I could rest a bit!
Finally I had to let them race to the top.  I managed to not fall too far behind but I could not keep up with my mountain goats and I think Doug struggled too (although he wouldn't admit it).  But we ALL made it to the top!  The weather was perfect, the hike was so invigorating, the view was amazing and the icing on the cake was that the kids LOVED it! They can't wait to go hiking again!
That night we met the Scott's at the pep rally.  Andy and Lynna went to high school with Doug and I and Andy went to Baylor with us.  We hadn't seen him in forever so it was really nice to meet their kids. 
We rang in the new year with our pjs on, laying in bed with the kids in our hotel room.  I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.  It was a great New Year's Eve!

We spent the next day at the Fiesta Bowl.  We went to a huge tailgate before the game with the Scott's.  And we had to get to the game early so Matt could watch the team warm up.  Andy was a pilot in the Air Force and now works for Southwest Airlines.  But he is still in the reserves and continues to do pilot training.  He was one of four servicemen honored at the game so we were glad we could be there for that moment!
What a fun week!  Thanks Dad for planning the trip for us! Happy New Year!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Merry Christmas

We had a wonderful Christmas this year!  Matt is still asking lots of questions about Santa and logistics.  He even told Marlie that someone at school told him that the biggest secret was that Santa was a M-Y-T-H!  I figured no worries as she wouldn't know what that spelled or meant, but she replied, "Well if Santa is a myth then how does he deliver presents to everyone's house on Christmas morning?" She's as smart as can be and she got Matt to see her point.  So on with the festivities!

We did our letters to Santa early this year because Santa doesn't want lists last minute.  Can you imagine how hard that would be for him? The kids love looking through the catalogs and making their lists. Then they narrow it down to their top 5 things.  Sometimes Mom and Dad have to help guide so Santa doesn't go broke!
Christmas started with the kid's school parties.  As always they have so much fun and I'm so thankful for the room Moms that plan and lead these.
After school we headed straight to the mall to see Santa.  Last year we were in line for hours so I was hoping to beat the rush.  Luckily we did and got to see Santa right away.  Matt checked him out pretty intensely but then still got that tad nervous feeling when he went to talk to him. 

Marlie told Santa she wanted 60 marbles! I have heard they are not easy to find these days! Matt asked for video games which Santa can easily pick up! 
Our tradition is to go to the children's mass on Christmas Eve and then come home for a fun evening with our family and open gifts.  After dinner the kid's put on a Christmas recital.  Matt planned it and they played guitar and Marlie sung of course.  It was really cute and they are getting more talented every year! Then we always have our gift card exchange which the kids and adults love.  When we start with gifts the kids like to go first and give their gifts that they bought at the school Santa shop. Dad got some really neat gadgets and I got a really cool hat and bracelet! Too cute!
I took the kids shopping (to a real store) to buy each other gifts and Matt was excited to get this for Marlie. 
Papa, Nona Lisa, Nene, Grandpa and Uncle Jay and Jaime celebrated with us and the kids were so glad to have everyone there. 
Dad said he needed ties so the kid's got to pick out ties and thought that was fun.  Matt was especially excited that he found one that was his baseball team's colors! 
 Dad got Matt a football signed by RGIII and Matt was super excited!
 Dad also got us all Baylor shirts for the Fiesta Bowl!
 We sang Happy Birthday to Jesus and enjoyed the rest of the evening.  It was so wonderful!
Christmas day is always my favorite. I do normally have to drag myself out of bed because Matt is always up early, but I love seeing the look on their faces when they come downstairs to see what Santa brought.  We stay in our pjs all day and play with games Santa brings.  Matt got the Simon game and Marlie was by far the best of all us...but she said it stressed her out and didn't want to play.  So instead she decorated her jewelry box!
This year the kid's had fun making gingerbread houses too although I think Nona Lisa had the most fun!
On the weekend we headed to San Antonio to see Doug's Mom, Papa Howie and all of our aunts, uncles and cousins.  The kids love being with their cousins and we enjoy watching all of them hang out together.  We had so much fun!  I hope you all had a Merry Christmas too! God is good...ALL THE TIME!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Christmas Guitar Recital

So this year Marlie was a part of the Christmas Guitar Recital!  Mrs. Kristi had a few more students and it was fun to watch all of them play and a few sing! 

Matt and Marlie started the night with their Jingle Bells duet!  They did great but there was a good amount of fighting along the way during practice! Mostly Marlie trying to boss Matt around when she was really playing wrong notes.  It took awhile for Matt to learn that since he was accompanying her, he had to follow at her pace, or pick up if she missed a note.  It was a good learning experience for both of them and in the end it sounded really good. 
Marlie played "I See the Moon" and "Let us Chase the Squirrel".  She cannot play without singing and Mrs. Kristi really wanted her to just play so she played both and then sang after!  Worked perfectly.  This girl LOVES to sing!
Matt played "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" which was great.  The hard part is that he had to figure out the notes and write the music out.  So he didn't start with the sheet music but had to figure the entire song on his own!  Well, I helped a bit because this was a tough exercise and it wasn't super easy for me either.  Mrs. Kristi also taught Matt to play "Carol of the Bells" which is one of my favorite Christmas songs.  But it was SO hard!  He had to play multiple strings with both his right and left hands.  I didn't think he was going to be able to do it but he practiced really hard and pulled it off! I hate that in this video you can't see both of his hands.  I will do better next time. 
Marlie was excited that her favorite boy-friend Ty started guitar lessons and was also here.  Ty did great and I owe him for being so kind to take this pic with Marlie.  Ty is in 4th grade and is the brother of Matt's good friend Micah.  Ty is probably the sweetest 4th grade boy I know.  He is always smiling and is always so nice to all the younger kids. 
 We were thankful that Nene and Uncle Jay were here to cheer M&M on too!
 Thank you Mrs. Kristi for another great recital!  Already looking forward to the next one in May!