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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