Tuesday, December 27, 2011


My computer has shorted out due to a doggie-chewed cord. I'm in terrible mourning and withdrawals.

(I knew he was a "Dobby" from the minute I saw the little turd!)

So now, my blog will become dusty and cobwebbed until I can figure out a way to fix it.

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!!

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Christmas Train!

Last night we headed off to (almost!) Arkansas to ride The Christmas Train!
I had bought tickets awhile back when they had a sale, and it was well worth it (even with the 3 hour drive and pouring rain!).
It was a little ironic that it is nestled into a little place called "Dry Gulch", because, it was anything but dry. It had been storming all day, and kept on storming the whole time we were there.
 Evan LOVED that he could catch the rain falling off daddy's umbrella.
 And, let me just say, folks. I am a rain boot/snow boot junkie. I buy my kids a pair of both rain boots and snow boot EVERY year. I know it seems a little crazy, because, really, you say, how many times will you use them? And it's totally true. We don't use them more than a couple handfuls a year, but when we do, my GOSH do we have fun! And it's SO worth it.
Puddle jumping is a great uber-fun sport for the kiddos, and I don't even blink at the thought of them walking around for another two hours in those socks that would normally now be drenched and on their way to trench foot. ME! NOT freaking out! I KNOW, right?
SO, that being said, splish splash they went!
 Once we got inside, we were given our boarding passes (which were NOT hole punched in super cool shapes or words by a Tom Hanks conductor, but were cool, nonetheless....)
 The train ride itself was a really cool experience. The rain made it a bit harder to see, but it was REALLY cool.
 Look at all these rain boots! :)
 The train ride took us through the story of Christmas, from His birth to his death, to his resurrection.
(and those are real people, by the way, in the pouring rain!)
 Once off the train, we walked around the rest of the village, which had a lot of fun things to do and see. The workers were all dressed in colonial costumes, there were carolers and conductors and elves and even a big jolly Saint Nick!
 This was the first time we rode the carousel. Evan didn't want to ride a horse, so he and daddy watched the world go by from Santa's sleigh. :)
 Emma, Isabel, and I went with the horses behind them.
 We later traded them in for real ponies.
 Ev got to ride the donkey.
Isn't he the cutest?!?
 Warming our cold hands on one of the many bonfires around the village.
 The kids got to visit Santa and let him know the final list of wishes.

 The bumper Cars were fun, until Em's broke down.

 Once they gave her a new one, the real bumping began!
 ...and Ev decided to give the fake horses a go, seeing as how the real ones hadn't ran off into the woods with him atow.
 Sweet Emm went with the zebra this time.

We were cold and wet and hungry by the time we left on our loooong drive back home, but we were happy, and after a Pizza Hut stop the kids quieted down to rythmic sleeping breaths and we zoomed home to warm beds and hot cocoa breath in our ears as we carried them to bed.

Merry Christmas, Emma & Evan, Isabel & Antonio!
We hope you had as wonderful of a journey as your parents did!

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Oh! And another thing (or three)...

I forgot to tell you - and you'll thank me for remembering - but there is a new bakery here in town called FROSTED. It's owned and run by a friend of a friend and we took the class down there for a fun, sugary field trip (I KNOW! Preschoolers?!? In a cupcake bakery?!?).
But let me tell you, they did great, and they all decorated and devoured their cupcakes in sweet quietness. (Okay, well, it was under 200 decibels, but still...)
 My sweet little cupacke decided on blue frosting and lotsa sprinkles
(because what's life without a pile of colorful swag-tastic sprinkles on your cupcake?!?)
 Isn't it deliciously gorgeous?!?
 (and so are those cheeks!)

 So later that night, as I lay, recovering from the sweet cupcake I had inhaled earlier in the day, I drug myself off the couch and into my wacky Christmas socks for our annual Hen Pen Christmas.
 And for all of you wondering, that was AMANDA M that decided to go all "normal" on us. We just made hers the "coal" filled sock.

We have filled our LifePack in honor of Eli again this year. Emma gets a little more excited each year about it, and I always am amazed at how big he would be. We are always happy to know that there's another little boy out there whose Christmas was a little more joyful thanks to this special angel of ours.
Fill the LifePack 2.0 is happening again this week, since we get more time to return them to church. I love the lesson it teaches our children, don't you?
 Now, the best for last, and I tell you this so that you can sit down and hold your belly, because it's a funny one.
Our director at school asked each of the kids about their Christmas Wish List, and here was Evan's:

Umm, okay.

I'm pretty sure Santa can deliver THAT.
Daddy's car on the other hand...

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I know, I know. I'm so seriously behind, just now posting my December post and all. Weren't you all "Ohmuhgosh, I wonder wonder wonder how big those adorable little Castros are this month?" and such?? I'm sure you were.
So here it is, folks...
 With my working and all, I elected not to do my Lego advent story this year, just purely out of not wanting to uber fail, which totally woulda happened, because, well, it's 13 December and I'm just saying hello and all. BUT, I have been able, thankyouverymuch, to successfully open the door on my awesome lego calender daily so far. Ev has a Playmobil one, and Em chose Littlest Pet Shops (again) for her 2011 calendar. And yes, Virginia, it has all the same pieces as it did before they changed the packaging from blue to purple. She still loves it though, so we're okey dokey here.
Ev and I have scenery for ours, I guess you'd say. A place to set up our daily swag. Emma's didn't come with one, so she made her own, which is so stinkin cute that I wanna eat it.
 On the third, we hosted the bedlam game here at the house of orange and spanked those Sooners all the way back home. Our nephew got to come stay for the weekend and REALLY enjoyed all the fun.
The last night of Konnect (Em's small group at church) was last week and they dressed up for a "Wacky, Tacky Christmas". And lemmie tell you, this child can come up with some wacky and tacky outfits all year long, but this one was far from it. She was simply ADORABLE. 
 Daddy Daughter Date Night took place on the night of the annual community singers concert. After dinner, though, Em was all "I'd rather go to Hastings and get a book..." and daddy was all "Hmmm, I like Hastings better than a bunch of old ladies singing, so I'm SoOOO gonna go with this and tell mom it was em's idea" (and he totally did), but they had their date, and it was awesome, and they. looked. smashing.

So that's about it for a short breif Cliff's Notes version of the chaos that is December over here at the C house. It's been flying by!

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

One little voice

The last couple of  nights have been extroidinary. Not just and only because we have had no activities or appointments and we can eat as a sweet little family of four, but also because our family dinner prayers have grown a little bigger.
We don't pray before every meal. In fact, most of the time we've dug into those mashed potatos long before we even mutter a word about our days events and dramas. Prayers are mostly said at night, and, in my case, every few minutes. (In fact, I now open my prayers with "Hi! It's me again!!") True story.
But during advent, we often pray before dinner, as we read the scripture for the day and light our candles. It's almost always been Hubby or I. Occasionally Em would chime in with a few words, but she rarely offered to say grace for us all. But two nights ago, on our second Sunday of advent, as we lit the candles and said our prayers, a little voice from across the table declared he wanted a turn, and the three of us all smiled and closed our eyes and opened our hearts and folded our hands and listened as the tiniest whoo in whoville belted out this prayer:

"Thanks for to God to make the clouds"

As tears poured down my cheeks to my grinning smile, Em said her own beautiful prayer of thanks for our family and friends, and as my own eyes met with hubby's, I could tell he felt the same way I did.
We had done it.
Our family was growing in thanks and prayer,
and Christ.
Just as we had planned.

So when you can't think of a thing to be thankful for, there are always clouds, or, as last night's 3 year old prayer goes, "Thanks for God to make our eating foods".

I love you both, little ones.
You make us so proud.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Our Family, version 2011 :)

I'm getting pretty good at the whole "self timer" thing...
 Thank you for our family, our children, and our happiness.
Thank you for fighting so hard.

I love you.

More to come
(when I can catch up with everyone else's photos!)

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As Christmas approaches...

The end of November has arrived and the newness of the holiday season holds heavy around us, almost like rain ready to fall as soon as December first strikes midnight. The advent calenders will begin their daily surprises and we'll continue to read our nightly bible verses as the glow of the advent wreath lights our family table. The radio spouts out praises and glories to God in the highest, and our house dons its gorgeous display of colorful stars in the night like beacons for a trio of men searching for something in the night.
But, as a mother, I often think back to Mary and Joseph and the trip they would be making at this time many many years ago. She must have been awfully scared and nervous. Here she was, almost due with this child who was the son of God, can you imagine the pressure? Everyone must have been cold to her, becoming pregnant when she did, under the circumstances she did. She probably had no support from anyone, so leaving that dark night may have even been welcome. But she wasn't totally alone. She had sweet Joseph, who stuck by her side, with his faith that was so strong. He led this donkey many miles and many nights on foot, hungry and cold, worried about the lives of the precious cargo it carried.
The weight on the shoulders of this husband and soon to be father would be more than I could bear.
Yet he pushed on, hungry and exhausted.
When baby Jesus was born, did Mary look in his eyes and wonder how long she had him until he would be called home? Did Joseph see himself in the eyes of the newborn king?
As he grew, did they worry about him breaking his arm while playing with the other kids? Did they discipline this young king? Did they raise their fists at the sky on days when terrible-twos Jesus refused a nap and ask "why me?!"? I suppose if you were chosen by God to raise this child, you'd feel a little better, but it must have been harder than any other task. Watching her son being whipped and beaten, nailed to a cross, crying and bleeding, while she was left helpless to watch. Had he wanted to cry out to her? Ask her for help? Ask her why she brought him into this world and kept him safe just to endure this treatment?
I couldn't do it.
When I look into the eyes of my little boy, I can't even imagine.

I'm sure as he hung there, being poked and taunted, she thought of all the times he scraped his knees and she cried after she kissed them better, because you hurt more just seeing that little face tear stained. The times he smiled and laughed as Joseph tossed him in the air, and the times he hugged her knees, because that's all he could reach as she prepared dinner for the family.

When Jesus asked why God had forsaken him, I'm sure Mary had been shouting the same thing for years as she watched the hardships that her son faced.

Anyway, so as December kicks Christmas into high gear, I don't worry about the city taking "Christmas" out of this and that and calling it "Holiday", or about the commercialization of Santa. Calling something a "Holiday Parade" or a "Holiday Card", or even "Xmas" isn't going to remove the reason we celebrate Christmas, and it's not going to make me or my family forget Jesus. So call it what you will, we'll still sing Happy Birthday on Christmas morning.

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Monday, November 21, 2011

A Cowboy Farewell

In case you hadn't heard, our beloved Oklahoma State University family has suffered another great loss. Thursday night, the plane that Coach Kurt Budke, his assistant coach, Miranda Serna were riding in crashed over Arkansas, killing them both as well as the pilot and his wife.
The last couple days have been sad here, even with the entire community wearing orange shirts and ribbons. The memorial service was today. I was at work, but I have it ready to watch later on.
I feel so hurt for the families of these wonderful four people, losing loved ones at the time of year when family is closest. I pray that their strength is mighty and they will be carried through this rough time.

Emma & Coach Budke

You can leave your online respects here, on their memorial website.

"Today is a new beginning. It's going to be a rollercoaster ride for a while. I invite you to jump on board with us because we're going to build something special."

- Kurt Budke

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thankgiving Festivities!

Last week we made our annual pilgrimmage to the local Culinary Arts School's Thanksgiving feast. Our uber fun friends go with us since the time that they were bringing 4 kids and we had 2, now dwindled down to one each.
 It was, as always, DELICIOUS!
 And then, Evan had his preschool Thanksgiving Feast. It's the school's annual fundraiser auction.
 Evan and his friends all put on a short singing show for us.
 It's exciting for Emma to go to school events and now soccer games with our family that are actually not hers!
 Look at this big ol' turkey pumpkin Evan made (minus the tail he wanted removed)
 His favorite teacher, Ms. Diane

Time is dwindling away until the big feast here, and I need to go gather my groceries today!
You only have 5 days!
Are you ready?!?
Gobble Gobble!!

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