The Secrets Inside the Pages

Saturday, December 31, 2011

I love to watch people wander through the aisles and aisles of shelves of books.

They all come looking for something....a craft project, some inspiration, a game, history, a great story, the purpose of life.

I wonder what each of them is thinking as they browse the rows and rows of titles.

I could spend hours upon hours in a good bookstore.

There is just something about picking up a book and thumbing through its pages while wondering what's inside.

There is just something about a book. I hope upon hoping that bookstores are never extinct. I realize that we're moving into a new age where e-readers are all the craze and I totally get it. I have a Kindle and just got a Kindle Fire, so who am I to talk? But I love books!

The pages, the covers, the heaviness of them. Of course, the way they look on a bookshelf is something to be said, too.

I love my kindle. I really do. But, I wonder if my daughter will pick it up one day and browse all the titles I've taken the time to read, or if I'll have bookshelves of books for her to pick up and flip through? It's hard to say. Maybe it will be a mixture of the two.

All I know is there is nothing like a bookstore. There is just something magical about them. All those paper pages hold deep sweet secrets just waiting to be uncovered.

I realize I sound like a nerd, but I really do love books.

All this talk about bookstores makes me think about You've Got Mail.  Oh, how I love Kathleen Kelly's bookstore. It makes me want to have one of my own. To have a children's bookstore where kids could come browse and play and moms could connect to free wi-fi and sip sounds magical to me!

I just love books. What can I say? I am a bookworm. 

I honestly miss teaching literature and being in school. I really want to go back and get my master's degree. I guess if the Lord calls me to it, I'll do it. 

Who knows what the future holds? 

Who knows what lies inside the pages of my life that are still unwritten? It's hard to say now, but a good book always holds a surprise at the end. A secret revealed, a love confessed, a murder, a happy ending, sorrow, joy....the possibilities of what lie inside the pages are unending. 

Are you a book lover? Do you love to sit in a bookstore? Is it just me? 

I really hope I'm not the only nerd out there. 

Brian and I spent two hours of our date night tonight cozied up at Barnes and Noble reading (yes, the Hunger Games....I'm officially done....more on that soon. He's got the third book to read), and I had to share the love. 

Wishing a good book and a great cup of coffee your way... 140 of a year of writing.....

Because This is Life

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Well, it's 10:00 p.m. We're all still awake.

Brian is painting.

I just brewed up a cup of coffee (decaf of course).

The kiddos are drinking milk and snuggling up for a movie.

My mom is playing Words with Friends.

Mom and I did a little shopping at Lush today. We finally have one in OKC, and I love it!

We ate octopus tonight. (Okay, everyone else tried octopus. I did not.)

I'm still dreaming of that new camera, sigh.....

I framed a ton of pictures today (none of which have made it to the wall yet), and I'm still not done.

I'm doing my absolute best to ignore my planner and not write in it, but I did make a few lists today....I just couldn't help myself!

And amazingly, I have not yet had any huge enlightening moments in these past few days being a little more detached from "work" than I usually am, except that life really can be simple when you want it to be.

And, I'm enjoying the sheer simplicity of it all.

I still have a love/hate relationship with my phone. It's a blessing and a curse all in one.

And that Lush bath is calling my name.

Hoping you too are enjoying a little simplicity this week. 139 of a year of writing.....

Oh, and Brian finished his painting in the middle of me writing this. I thought you might like to see it. Not too shabby. : ) I love it. 

Things I'm Thinking About

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

When Tamara asked what the top priority was today and if we should take down the Christmas decorations, my first and immediate reaction was, NO!

Of course not.

It's not over yet.

We still have New Year's, and I love looking at the twinkly lights and the fullness of it all.

Not yet.

It's still Christmas. And I'm on vacation. (As well as I know how to be.)

I am doing a pretty good job. I did finally (just now) pull out a notepad to make a list of a few things that need to get done tomorrow. I'm still "in the woods," so I'm not doing much, but there are a few things that need to be tended to. Life moves on.

But, I'm feeling myself start to relax. I feel like I have a week of Sundays in front of me, and I like that a lot.

I spent the morning cleaning up the chaos from Christmas. My house finally feels normal again thanks to Tamara. She's a dear, dear friend who also comes to clean once a week.

Then we headed out to look for new bedding for our new bedroom furniture. Which, I know you need pictures of still. Sorry! My room just hasn't been clean in a while.

Addison and I headed out to buy new shoes for her and her brother and then to the craft store where she picked up a few essential craft items for the week while I stocked up on a massive amount of wall frames.

I have a huge blank wall in my bedroom that needs to be filled up quickly. I have tons of pictures I want to frame, so today I took advantage of a sale to make that happen.

That blank wall along with my mind being a little clearer these past couple of days has made me start to think of things that I hadn't really thought of before.

Here's what I'm thinking about:

  • I'm thinking about becoming a BlogHer member. A while ago (six months or so) I inquired about becoming a BlogHer blogger which means if approved, my blog would sponsor ads appropriate for my readers and I would make a slight profit. I went though all the steps except the final one to actually make it happen, and I was approved! Lately I'm wondering if I should be more serious about this blogging thing and go through with the BlogHer bit. I just have never really felt God leading me that way. What we have now is more natural. I dunno. It's in my head though. 
  • I'm thinking I want to learn more about photography. Not to take pictures of anyone else, but just to have really great pics of my kiddos as they grow up. I've got my eye on a Canon 50d after doing a little research. They are pricy, so I need to decide if I really want to learn or not before I make the investment. 

  • I'm thinking I need to decide soon if I'm getting a new computer before the new year (for tax purposes) or if I'm going to look into getting a bigger hard drive on my computer. I have to do something. The Macbook I bought 3 years ago still works perfectly, but there isn't an inch of space left on it. I have an external hard drive, but I hate lugging it around and I have a hard time deleting things off my drive (especially pictures!) even though I know I have them stored in multiple places. 
  • I'm thinking I'm ready to be finished with The Hunger Games books so I can get on with my life. I'm in the middle of the third book and need to finish so I can stop obsessing with finishing. 
  • I'm thinking I have to get back on the road (running that is) and soon! It's been too long, and I miss it. Plus, my dad bought me some killer new trail running shoes for Christmas that I can't wait to try out. I miss the clarity of it, the quiet, the view. 
  • I'm thinking I'm ready for a new blog design. Do you know anyone? I can't do it myself. Not only do I not want to, but I don't know how. I need some help. I'm thinking I'm looking into that this week. 
  • I'm thinking it's bedtime. You? : )
Loving my time in the woods where it's still Christmas for a little bit longer. Hope you're enjoying the week after Christmas too. 138 of a year of writing.....

The Laziest Day Ever

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Well, so much for me not waiting until the end of the day to write. It's 12:25. My kiddos went to bed around 11:30, our house is still a Christmas mess, and Brian and I can't peel ourselves off the couch.

We have been completely engrossed for the entire day.

Well, almost the entire day.

I started off my first day of not working by working. Of course I did! But there were a few things I needed to get taken care of before I could really take off.

So, with Christmas presents finally on their way to a few of my downline, I decided it was time to relax.

On Christmas Eve I started reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. The plot:
Katniss is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, the remains of what used be the United States. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games." The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. When Kat's sister is chosen by lottery, Kat steps up to go in her place. 

My best friend and I always exchange books for Christmas. She always has great fiction recommendations and I always offer up my latest Christian book title or business book. (Don't I sound exciting?!)

This year she got The Hunger Games for me. I know I've seen it on the bestsellers' list, but I've never picked it for myself for some reason.

Now I know why. You have to have the time to read the stupid thing because it is beyond addicting!

So far, I am through the first two books of the trilogy and just started the third. (Yes, this is all within the past three days. That's why we have gotten nothing done around here lately!) The movie is coming out on March 23rd, too! From the looks of the pictures, they have done a great a job keeping true to the book.

So, if you're a reader or not, I highly recommend The Hunger Games (but only if you have a couple days to spare). This is your warning: YOU WILL GET SUCKED IN!

Even my husband, who is not a huge reader, can't put it down. He started the book late last night and is sitting next to me now on the couch updating me every fews pages on what's unfolding. He'll be finished within the hour. Then, I'm sure he'll be on to the second one, Catching Fire. He actually just commented that this book will be the first he has ever read in a day (and it's almost 400 pages long).

This trilogy is without a doubt one of the best I have ever read. (And yes, I read all of the Twilight saga, and I stood in line for all the Harry Potter books on the night of their release.)

This is different. It's unexpected, creative, slightly scary, and purely addictive.

I've got to go. The third book is calling my name. 137 of a year of writing.....

I'm Going to the Woods

Monday, December 26, 2011

Well, first of all, I am beyond irritated.

I wrote this post last night on my phone and thought I both saved it and published it.

I apparently did neither. So I am going to attempt to re-write what I have already written once.

It's guaranteed to be not nearly as good as yesterday when I was in the moment, but what's a girl to do?!

So here's what I was thinking last night:

When you're in the business of direct sales, your only job is relationships.

Build relationships, foster relationships, find new relationships. I think you get the idea.

And it recently occurred to me that since I started selling Scentsy (more than four years ago), I have never stepped away from all of it.

We've taken vacations and taken time off, but I've never really stepped away.

It's hard to just step away when all you're supposed to do is love and encourage the people who are on this journey with you.

And to be honest, I am not in the encouraging mood right now.

I'm uninspired, unmotivated, and simply unenthusiastic.

So, I think it's time.

The timing is perfect. Brian is off this week. The kids are at home. There is no better time than now.

So, I'm going to do it. I'm going to do my best to ignore my phone, ignore Facebook, ignore my emails (even though I know that will create more work for me later), and just be.

I need a break.

I miss the kind of break you get as a school teacher. I would finalize grades, turn out the lights, lock the door to my classroom, and not think a thing about my job for two weeks until school resumed again at the start of the new year. That's the kind of break I need.

No lists. No plans. No to-dos.

Let's be honest, there may be a few to-do lists here and there this week, but I'm not filling out my planner. I'm going to attempt to just hang out.

I want to run, to read, to play with my kids, to take baths because I can, not because I'm exhausted. And I want to write. Oh, how I want to write just to write. Not at the end of a day when everything did not get done, when I'm exhausted and broken, but I want to write because I can and I love to. I want to write intentionally.

I want to pray and read my Bible and seek God.

I just want to be.

So I'm stepping back for a while. A week at least. It almost sounds indulgent, but I know I need it. I need to remember who I am, and why I do this.

I need to catch up on me and my babies and my husband and my God.

I know He has great things planned for us in the year to come. I can only imagine His plan. I no longer attempt to create one in my mind because I know it will only go astray with His will in mind as we seek Him more and more.

I just need to be me for a while. Away from it all. Surrounded by the ones I love more than life. Being inspired. Having fun. Disconnected from fast pace living that we call life.

It's not a bad idea.

I'll still be here, of course. Every day. This is different. Maybe my writing will be good for once. I guess you'll just have to wait and see what the week holds.

Thinking of all this time away from "work" makes me repeat the words I memorized in junior English over and over again, "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately."

Walden by Henry David Thoreau is a classic that ends up on many English curriculums about the author's search for a simplified life. We memorized these words in English class:

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms...
So I guess you could say, I'm going to the woods. 136 of a year of writing..... 

On This Day

Sunday, December 25, 2011

My sink is full of dirty dishes. I feel like there may be the need to make a pathway for walking through our living room soon. (I'd hate for someone to trip over the abundance of toys!)

Christmas tonight included tears (not the good kind), hugs, uncontrollable laughter, chasing, more laughing, fajitas, and even a bloody nose.

The details don't really matter. What matters is that we managed to survive another Christmas.

I realize that survival may sound harsh for describing the Christmas season, but with all the family events we attempt to make it to every year, survival is the word for it.

Despite the traveling and the late nights and all the attempts at scheduling everything to make it work out perfectly, I wouldn't trade a moment of it.

Family is what Christmas is about.

And amidst all the crazy and the hustle and bustle of the past few days, I am overcome with joy that today was the day of our Savior's birth.

When I look back at the person I was a year ago today, I can honestly say that Jesus probably crossed my mind maybe a few times on Christmas day last year.

And today I can't help but be grateful beyond words or measure at how far He has brought me. The joy. The peace. The words He has given me in the midst of all circumstances, make me want to fall to my knees in worship of Him.

That sweet, sweet baby. Born in a manger. Sent to Earth to live a sinless life and die on the cross in an attempt to get me to understand how much He loves me. Yes, me. The sinner, the unworthy, the mistake maker. Me.

On this day, my Savior was born. And because of Him peace abounds. 135 of a year of writing.....

Christmas All Grown Up

Saturday, December 24, 2011

I'm not sure when it happened.....when I started experiencing Christmas as a grown up.

Well, technically, I know exactly when it happened.

But, it seems like it slowly seeped into what I know to be true of Christmas.

It seems like just last year I was lying in my bed, staring up at the ceiling...unable to sleep, but afraid to move at the same time; listening ever so carefully for a sound on the roof.

Oh, the anticipation.

And suddenly it was morning. I guess I had finally fallen asleep and now it was time to rush downstairs.

What would await us when we turned the corner? We couldn't go in until everyone was ready. We had to wait until just the right moment.

They wanted to see our faces. They wanted to see our reaction.

Suddenly, I'm waiting again. But, this time I'm not waiting for Santa to land on my rooftop. I'm waiting for the look of anticipation on my kiddos faces.

I wonder what they think about before falling asleep at night.

Are they afraid he'll fly over our house if they're not asleep when he arrives? Do they toss and turn with anticipation?

Tonight as I sit in the living room and watch my husband put together scooters, I can't help but smile.

There is something beautiful about believing in things that you can't see. And even though I know where the magic comes from now, I love it all the more.

My December didn't turn out exactly like I planned for it to. All the presents were not bought and wrapped as early as I wanted them to be. We didn't read Christmas books every single night like I said we would. And there were a few times I found myself simply overwhelmed.

But, tonight beneath the glow of the Christmas tree, anticipating the morning, I'm happy, content, and ready to play. I'm ready to unplug for a week (maybe two) and just be with my family.

The end of this year and the beginning of the next definitely deserves some celebration.

Tomorrow we'll start with the celebration of the birth of our Savior. And then we'll just have to wait and see what the next week holds.

What a blast it is to create memories for our kids. Christmas is still fun even when you're all grown up.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas (Eve technically). 134 of a year of writing......

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Chocolate Popcorn

Friday, December 23, 2011

It's one of my favorite Christmas treats. Plus, it's easy to make and all your friends and family will love it.

1 bag buttered popcorn
1 bag white chocolate chips

Place your bag of popcorn into the microwave and cook according to package instructions.

Place cooked popcorn in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Place about 3/4 of the bag of white chocolate chips in a microwave safe dish. I use a glass Pyrex measuring cup.

Melt the chocolate chips for 30 seconds at a time (stirring between each time to ensure the chocolate doesn't burn).

Be sure not to overheat your chocolate or it will burn.

Once the chocolate is melted and smooth, pour approximately half of the mixture over half of the popcorn. Mix well.

Repeat with the other half of the popcorn and chocolate.

Mix both halves until all the popcorn is evenly covered in chocolate.

Lay out on wax paper to dry. Once the popcorn is laid out, pick out any kernels you can find.

Let dry and enjoy!

Chocolate popcorn makes a great gift as well!

Merry Christmas! 133 of a year of writing.....

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Christmas Traditions Part 2

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Well this is post # 2 of 2 all about Christmas Traditions. It was fun reading through all your family traditions and deciding which ones we wanted to make a part of our family Christmas time. Enjoy browsing.

Operation Christmas Child
Operation Christmas Child is really cool. You fill a shoe box with small toys or hygiene items for children overseas and donate $7 to ship it. I took my two year old with me to the dollar store section at Target and Dollar Tree and we had fun picking out items to put in the box for another little girl or boy

We've started making a point to make sure each kid buys for an needy child (through our church
or an angel tree). I think it's so important now that they can understand not everyone is as blessed
as they are and it's important to bless others.

Paper Chains
We also make a paper love/prayer chains out of contraction paper. We write the names of people
we know that mean a lot to us or people we want to pray for. Then we take it and decorate our
house with it! Also, we try to limit the kids to only a few gifts. Baby Jesus got three... We try to do 
three as well!

Swedish Traditions
Since I was raised with Swedish traditions, we open all of the gifts, except the ones from Santa, on
Christmas Eve. Before we open gifts, however, we read the Christmas story from the Bible (Luke 2:1-20).
After opening gifts, we go for a ride to see Christmas lights (One of the adults always forgets something
in the house after everyone is in the car so has to run back inside. When we return from the ride sometimes
Santa has already left our gifts.) Such great memories!!!!

Cookies for Friends
 We make cookie plates for all our friends, family, and neighbors. The trick is to start early and make

several different types of cookies, and freeze them until you're ready to assemble the cookie platters for

When we were kids we had many people in our church that were shut ins- unable to go out or alone
with no family. We would spend the week before Christmas baking dozens and dozens of cookies.
Christmas Eve we would deliver plates and plates of homemade treats to folks who were alone. Our little family of
 four would spend several hours going home to home bring good cheer to people who brought us cheer! 

Christmas Stories
I buy a new Christmas Story every year, I gift wrap the book so it's a surprise and a box of Turtles candy,
and new pj's for everyone. We open our jammies, get in them, then one child opens the candy and another
the Christmas story. Over the years we have collected over eighteen books. Even though my children are all
graduated from school, they still ask if we're getting a new story.

I read them a Christmas book every night from Dec 1 thru Dec 24, and on Dec 24 I read the real "Christmas Story"
of Jesus' birth--that is the only one we still read is on Christmas Eve.

We read scripture in Luke about the birth of Jesus before opening our presents. We have each of the kids read
some, too. We have done this for nineteen years.

Christmas Lights
Every year, the week before Christmas we get in the car and go look at Christmas lights for the evening.

We get hot chocolate and drive around looking at Christmas lights ;)

Advent Calendar
I have an advent calendar and my kids still take turns putting the ornament on the wall tree--they are still telling
each other "it is my turn today"--even as old as they are.

New Ornaments Every Year
I started doing a Christmas ornament a year for each child or grandchild when the first grandchild was little.
I really wish I had started it when the children were little. But, even now - the kids and grandkids enjoy looking
at all the ornaments now each year and the memories they bring. Football, cheerleading, baby pictures,
graduation, motorcycle, hunting, etc. Makes special memories to keep for all their and your life.

We get our real tree, set it up and then go to Cracker Barrel and pick up two new ornaments . . . we have the
coolest tree and not one identical ornament.

Every year since my husband and I got married in 1990, I have gotten us an "Our Christmas Together"
Ornament from Hallmark. The two of us will have twenty-two ornaments this year. Also every year we get the kids
their own ornaments from Hallmark. My parents do the same. So, for example, our oldest son will have his
twentieth Christmas this year, so he should have a total of forty Hallmark ornaments. One day when he
gets married, he will take his ornaments with him. I hope the kids will carry on the tradition. My most prized
ornaments are the six hallmark ornaments from my childhood.

My husband and I started buying ornaments everywhere we went. If we went to a winery or ball game,
for example, we purchased an ornament. When we put up the tree, we can remember all the fun adventures!

Christmas Movies
Our family watches a Christmas movie or cartoon every night from Thanksgiving night thru December 24---Starting
with Christmas Vacation and ending on Christmas Eve with Polar Express
(Another family) We have to watch Miracle on 34th Street on Thanksgiving night and a Charlie Brown Christmas on

Grandpa's Walnut Ornaments
Every year my Grandpa would hollow out walnut shells and put different amounts of money in each and glue them
back together with a ribbon attached. He would hang one in the tree for each grandchild. It was fun cracking them
open to see who had the biggest amount. It's bitter sweet because the one with the highest dollar amount also had
clean up duty after Christmas dinner! Loved it. (He knew we would have done it for free.)

A Christmas Pickle
We have a pickle tradition (which I think is a German tradition). Many years ago we bought a pickle
ornament from Dillards, which comes with a tradition story. Basically we hide the pickle on the tree
among all the other ornaments. The first child that finds it wins a prize. We usually buy a family
movie that either gender would like, for the prize. We don't put the pickle on right away, we might
wait a day or a week, you never know. I love to watch the kids try to find it. Because they are quite a
bit older now, we have to be sneaky, but they still love it.

Gingerbread Houses
Now that I'm a Nana...we make gingerbread houses on Christmas Eve. Lots of memories and little
fingers licking the icing!

Elf on the Shelf

Stocking Fun 
We each got five Lottery tickets in the stocking and an orange in the toe of the stocking.

“Something to eat,
Something to read,
Something to play with,
and Something they need.”

Santa 132 of a year of writing.....

I've Been Kidnapped!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Well, I was kidnapped today!

I awoke on my 28th birthday to a note telling me to be ready in twenty minutes for the day!

Who does that?!

My sweet husband. That's who.

I didn't take it well. I cried.

And they weren't happy tears. Apparently I don't enjoy surprises (for the record).

I was whisked away to a hair appointment (where I became a brunette again...which was my choice). And then a full day at the spa (where I cried again).

After my day of relaxation, I came home to a brand new full bedroom set (one that we had picked out two years ago).

My husband is amazing. That's all I have to say. Even after I got upset about being away from home on my birthday (and crying), he still loved and spoiled me.

(There will be more thoughts on me being a brat about the spa later....God had a few things to teach me about letting go of control.)

All I can say is that I was and am completely undeserving of the day I was blessed with (much like we are undeserving of God's grace). But oh, how grateful I am!

Sometimes we just have to trust in the grand plan that someone else has made for us.

I can't wait for you to hear the whole story.

We're off to shop at Target for some families who need to be spoiled, and I can't spare another minute. 131 of a year of writing.....

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Christmas Traditions Part 1

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I asked and you answered. And I will say that your answers were too good not to share. This post is complied from a few facebook questions about Christmas Traditions and is post 1 of 2. (There were too many great ideas for just 1 post.)

This is a master list of tons of great Christmas traditions. They're not in any particular order. Thanks to everyone who shared. Enjoy!

Breakfast Casserole
I always make a breakfast casserole (or two or three) on christmas eve and put it in the over as soon as we get up on christmas morning. Then it's ready to eat after we open gifts :)

Reindeer Food
We always put out reindeer food on christmas eve and go out to see if any of santa's reindeer lost any of their bells in our yard. We usually get lucky and find a bell near the spot where we put out the reindeer food :)

We also mix oatmeal & glitter & sprinkle it in the front yard so the reindeer can find our house :-)

Birthday Cake for Jesus
We always have Birthday cake after the breakfast casseroles and we sing Happy Birthday to Jesus ♥

Birthday cake for breakfast on Christmas morning. Happy Birthday, Jesus!
And feeding the reindeer the night before :)

Carrots for Santa's Reindeer
We always buy the real carrots with the green attached for the reindeer and a few times the reindeer have dropped the carrots (eatten of course - just the tops remain). Santa has dropped small presents in the yard and in the fireplace. One year my son swore he saw a footprint in the ashes. 

Christmas Cookies
We have a Saturday where we all get together and make cookies and then we deliver them to friends in town. Christmas Eve we have Chili and enjoy time together. 

Letter to Santa w cookies and he always writes back (using his left hand). Those english poppers make a fun place setting for gifts. We decorate sugar cookies on Christmas Eve morning before church and dinner.

Sharing Bread
We also share bread we got this tradition from a foreign exchange student. Each person has a piece of bread (simlar to communion) then you stand in a circle and you tell the person closest to you how they make you feel. That you are so happy they are in your life, thank them for what they have done for you this year etc. Then you give them a kiss on each cheek and then a hug. You then go around the room and do this with everyone. We give each other a Christmas Card, and we love to go to Midnight Mass. Christmas morning we open gifts and have Cinnamon Rolls then play with toys and then have a wonderful family dinner.

Santa's Footprints
When my daughter was younger I would put some baby powder on a bottom of a pair of shoes and make footprints from the front door to the tree! When she woke up Christmas morning and saw them she was always amazed! :)

Christmas Jammies
My girls have matching (or coordinating) Christmas pj's that they wear. We all make cookies for Santa and read Christmas books together.

We always open one gift of pjs on Christmas eve and take pics in front of the tree. Then we sprinkle reindeer food and put cookies, coffee, and milk out because Santa has a long trip. ;) Review our lists and letter to Santa, then we watch Christmas cartoons til and Santa track updates til they're asleep. Simple but fun!

On Christmas Eve the kids and I put on our new christmas jammies (we get a SPECIAL pair every year).

Our whole family from cousins, aunts, uncles, grandkids etc wears their new Christmas PJ's over to Nana's each year, where we all open gifts for the second time :-) and have breakfast casserole, donuts juice& coffee. It would be tragic if the tradition was ever altered in any way :-)

Stay tuned for more Christmas traditions tomorrow.... 130 of a year of writing.....

A Weekend of Us

We needed it desperately. No schedule. No hosting. No plans.

Friday afternoon we skipped town and headed for Grapevine, Texas, where we would stay at the infamous Gaylord Texan until Sunday.

We started the evening eating dinner at the sports bar inside the hotel. (There are 6 different restaurants inside the hotel.)
Luke was thrilled to have some grilled cheese. (His meal of choice the entire weekend.)
Checking out the numerous choo choo trains. 

This is the inside of the Gaylord. You literally never have to leave the hotel. The windows you see are the
balconies to the rooms that overlook the center of the hotel. 

Checking out the Koi.  

Saturday morning from our balcony. (This is all inside. The balconies overlook the center of the hotel
which is also inside, even though it's massive.)

Addison wanted to pose on every single rock we passed (and they were everywhere!).

Still inside! This is the coolest hotel. 

Loving the water.  

The big tree. 

All of Santa's reindeer make an appearance in the hotel somewhere, and they are all
dressed up and were themed according to their names.  

A real life-size gingerbread house. So cool! 

Saturday morning we got to eat breakfast with the characters from Shrek and Puss and Boots
The town crier came to seat us. He made us pledge to eat slugs and eyeballs until our breath was stinking. 

It's Shrek! 

Puss and Boots

Addison loved Fiona. She said she was beautiful! 

Strawberries covered in green slime (aka white chocolate)

She earned her Orge ears. 

The slime!
Then we headed to see "Ice!" For the sixth year in a row, the Gaylord hosted their "Ice" attraction. They bring in forty ice artists from China and over four million pounds of ice. This year, their "Ice" attraction was inspired by Dreamworks Shrek the Halls movie.

This dreamworks guy greeted us as we waited in line for our parkas. Yes, parkas. They keep the ice tent
between 12 and 17 degrees to keep the ice from melting. 


Addy was a little tired of waiting. 

Almost there. 
There it is. Shrek made out of ice.  

Our new friend, donkey.
Fiona and her babies.

The ice slide. They had two slides made of ice that you could slide down.

Addison loved it. 

Luke hated it.

There she is. The dragon is all Luke wanted to see. 

They were pretending to be scared of her. 

At this point, we were cold and ready to get out of the ice tent.

And then we walked into the manger scene all made out of ice. 

It was gorgeous. The picture does it no justice at all.  

After a little rest time in the room, Addison and I headed down to Gingy's to do a little gingerbread house decorating.

This is serious business. 

And she got to meet Gingy. 

I love this picture. 
An entire section of the hotel is made to look like the Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas. The lights over it were all multicolored.

More rocks! She really wanted to pose there.
And another rock.

You can barely see it, but we caught a sneak peek of a bride and groom
having their  pictures taken. It was awesome!

There she is posing again. 

The bride and groom again. : )

She happily posed while I tried to figure out whether to use that darn flash or not. 

She was entertaining passerby's with her posing. 

A tree made of poinsettias. See above without flash and below with. Maybe I should take a photography class. 

Eating dinner at the Riverwalk Cantina. Yum. 

Those multicolored lights again that I love so much. 

Dinner right by the water. Nothing like it. 

After dinner we headed to the indoor pool and ended our stay with a splash. What a fun weekend away. The Gaylord Texan may very well become a Christmas family tradition for the Dalkes. Neither of the kiddos wanted to leave, and secretly, neither did I. Maybe next year we'll escape for a little longer. 129 of a year of writing.....

Powered by Blogger · Designed by Pish and Posh Designs