Saturday, December 24, 2011

Alvin the Elf

The kids and I returned from our Louisiana trip to find that our little friend, Alvin, was back from the North Pole. He was quite a bit crazier this year than he was last year, and Ben & Grace got a kick out of it! Here are a few of his antics:

The first morning he tried to jump start my Christmas decorating. He took all of my apples out of the jar, but I guess he got stuck as he was refilling it with the ornaments!

One morning he had run himself a bubble bath.

He apparently had a movie party one night and helped himself to a bag of popcorn.

He replaced our stockings with our underwear. Thankfully he chose clean ones!

He drew a picture for Ben & Grace.

He talked the reindeer (who is usually well-behaved) into building forts and having a snowball fight. He couldn’t find any snowballs, so he used my cotton balls.

The absence of snowballs must have reminded him of how warm it is here in Texas, because he spent the next night in the fridge trying to cool off.

His sweet tooth got the better of him one day so he rigged up a straw in the syrup bottle.

My personal favorite – he drew funny faces on our pictures.

The last morning he was here, he put labels that said “To Alvin” on most of the gifts. Nice try, little buddy!
We had a great time with Alvin this year.
Thank you, Pinterest! ;)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Very Merry SeaWorld

The Collins family spent the night with us after our Polar Express party, so we decided to make the most of their visit and head to SeaWorld the next day. The weather was perfect and we had a great time!

Our first stop was the Shamu Express roller coaster. Liz took the big kids while I waited with Grace, Noah & Rylan.

Gracie loves her little brother, and for once, he actually seems to return the feeling!

Next we waited for the carousel.

Gracie specifically requested a purple pony.

This was Rylan’s first visit to SeaWorld!

This was our first time on the new play structure in the Bay of Play. It’s crazy big (too big – I don’t like that it’s easy to lose sight of the kids once they get up there). Thankfully, Ben was super patient with Gracie and stayed with her the entire time.

We made it!

All was going well until Grace climbed out of one of the tubes and ran straight into Cookie Monster. She is NOT a fan of costumes. AT ALL. With skill and speed that would have rivaled an olympic athlete, she ran back through all the tubes and sprinted down the net wall (screaming all the way). Poor girlie – she was terrified!

After seeing a couple shows we stopped off for some holiday photo opportunities.

The crazy Collins clan

Take my picture, too!!!

Dancing a jig underneath the oak trees!

Handsome fellas!

Despite being outnumbered 3 to 1, Liz and I managed to survive the park and were still smiling at the end of the day.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Pancakes, PJ’s & the Polar Express

‘Twas the Wednesday before Christmas and all through the house…. many children were stirring and they were all covered in syrup!!!!

OK, so that is a terrible poem, but it is factual. I decided to host a little soiree for some of Ben, Grace & Noah’s friends one evening. Everyone showed up in their coziest pajamas. We served pancakes (lots and lots and lots of pancakes). After all the bellies were full, we made ourselves comfortable in the living room and watched the Polar Express. It was such a fun night. The kids were so good and really kept the stickiness to a minimum. Towards the end of the night we brought out the last “p”… POPCORN! Who doesn’t love popcorn, right? Grace could live on the stuff. I think she may have eaten two whole bags by herself.

Pancake central. This is where all the magic happens, people.

Sweet pancake princesses.

Ben was so excited that his best friend came all the way from Corpus to attend the party!

Four boy babies. There’s something in the water, apparently. We had Luke (14 months), Rylan (6 months), Noah & Cole (both 9 months).

Grace & Grant. I’m praying that these two will get married one day. No joke.

Settling in to watch The Polar Express.

The entire crew. I think the final count was 8 mommies and 17 kids! I lost track of the number of pancakes and bags of popcorn.

Such concentration.

The baby mamas.
Luke’s mommy, Rylan’s mommy & Cole’s mommy
(aka Melissa, Liz & Abbie)

Sister did not stray far from the bowl of popcorn.

Thank you to all of my sweet mommy friends who joined in the chaos. We’ll have to think about making it an annual tradition!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Nature Scavenger Hunt

The World’s Greatest Daddy strikes again. I don’t know if Ben or Brian came up with the idea first, but one Saturday morning they set out (with Gracie in tow) for a nature scavenger hunt. They hit the hiking trails at Eisenhower Park with a list of treasures to search for. It was a photo scavenger hunt, so there was lots of documentation for me to look through when they returned home. I think they found almost everything on their list. Brian wants to plan another outing in the spring so they can look for more live creatures! (It was a little too chilly for all of the creepy-crawlies to be out).

A flat rock.

A red leaf.

A stick shaped like a “Y”


A cactus plant

Deer poop. I’m not sure if this was on the original list, or the boys just thought it was cool and took a picture of it. Either way…. GROSS.

My favorite – a rock with a hole in it. I love the little clovers peeking out.

A bug.

A yellow leaf.

A tree with a hole in it.


I love my hubby & all of the creative things he thinks up for the kiddos.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pretty Pear Tree

It finally got cold enough for our pear tree to think that Fall has arrived. I LOVE this tree. Wayne & Diane gave it to us as a housewarming gift when we first moved in 6 1/2 years ago. If we sell this house, I think this tree will be what I miss the most. I love it’s pretty, teeny little white blossoms in the spring, but my favorite is when it turns fiery orange like this. Unfortunately it only stays like this for a few short days until all of the leaves fall.




KDO Christmas Program

It is time again for the Kids’ Day Out Christmas Pageant. Although Ben killed it last year as a shepherd, his teachers decided not to have him reprise that role. Instead, he was one of the Three Wise Men (or a King, if you ask him). He did great. He looked very wise. :)

He was very serious about delivering his myrrh to the baby Jesus as the angels looked on.

The full assembly. Precious.

Grace's class was a part of the chorus. This was her big entrance.

Here she is singing “Away in a Manger.” I was so proud of her for knowing and doing all of her motions. She’s the only one in the picture who was matching the teachers.

My two little stars.

This is Ben’s sweet friend, Riley. They are little kindred spirits. Watching them have a conversation is like watching two adults in miniature.

All of the kiddos did a great job with the Christmas Program this year. Because of all of their practices Ben was able to recite much of the scripture from memory. I loved seeing all of the kids giving honor to Jesus and being reminded of the real reason for all of the celebration!