Wednesday, December 30, 2009


we have had a wonderful time with family & friends on christmas eve eve, christmas eve & christmas. i was enjoying the moments & didn't take many pictures.

here are my favorite 2 of the kiddos:

a break from opening presents christmas morning for a hug.

riding my little cowgirl's pony together.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

cuddle time

doesn't get much better than watching christmas shows by the fire at namaw & poppy's.

time for bed

Monday, December 21, 2009

the first taste of snow

the kiddos were so excited to run out & catch a snowflake on their tongue. we had to remind them to put on shoes & coats first.


christmas is almost here! lots of good times with family & friends in the next few weeks celebrating the birth of christ.

auntie jen, maybe there will be some white stuff for your arrival on tuesday! we'll make sure to have an extra warm jacket for you. the kiddos are excited to see ya!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

visiting santa & our advent calenders

the kiddos have been super excited to see the big red guy. we normally go to washington square mall to see him, but he is no longer there. :( so, we went to the eastland mall & paid $20 for 2 crappy pictures & a visit with a rude santa and elves. seriously, we got there & it wasn't crowded but they were only focused on getting a picture. he was putting them off his lap, when i told the kiddos to tell him what they wanted. "a racetrack" for ben. " " nothing from gracie. she was not thrilled to be there. then santa said see ya next year & got them off his legs. ben gave him an ornament he made especially for him, which i think softened his heart a bit (he then gave them candy canes). the kiddos didn't notice anything wrong with the visit, but i was very let down. boo to the mall santa!

we got advent calenders for the season. 1 for each kiddo. sunday ben got them down & i went to the basement to get the laundry. when i came back, this was what was left.

there was no spot left to open in gracies. mr. ben did save a few days. we have gracie believing her stomach was hurting that night from too much chocolate. maybe this will stop my little chocoholic.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

ben's angels

there are 3 extra special "grills" (girls in benglish) in ben & gracie's lives. ben calls them his "grillfriends," never mind the fact they are related to him. ash, aub & al are his cousins (3rd or 4th, i'm not technically sure). these girls are so special to all of us. they are our go to gals when in need of a babysitter, a shopping buddy, or some teenage wisdom.

i remember their mom being pregnant with each one of them & anxiously awaiting their arrivals. there were all like my little sisters & i am so thankful i got to help in their care growing up.

we were in florida when ash was born & i wanted to leave vacation just to see my baby! lori was so awesome about letting me hold her & "help" take care of ash. ash was always a laid back little girl. she'd sit & let me fix her hair oh so pretty & play with me for hours on end. i think she might of thought i was cool too (but not as cool as she was). now she's on her way to being a kick butt nurse with a beautiful singing voice! she's so caring & will serve so well.

miss aub had nothing to do with me as a child.. screaming for 2 hours straight while i babysat her during bible school. she had her favorite people & i wasn't one of the chosen few. thank goodness she outgrew that & now loves me. she's one of the sweetest young ladies i know. she is a black belt, so don't mess with her!

& miss allie, oh miss allie. such a gentle spirit who keeps us all in line. if you need to know anyone's schedule, go to her. she's on top of it all! she is a talented dancer who cracks up every time i try to bust out some of my roger rabbit moves or some that don't even have names yet. hopefully she can help out my kiddos in that department so they don't make fools of themselves.

these girls are almost all grown up & are now taking care of my kiddos & what a fine job they do (so much better than i ever did)! i couldn't ask for better babysitters, the kiddos have a blast the entire time.

i am so proud of these girls. they are each wonderful in their own way & have many talents to share with the world. they have such a love for christ, and share that with all. i am so thankful for my kiddos to have their "grills" to look up to & help teach them right from wrong. thanks girls! i'm keeping this post short & sweet because i can't express my love & admiration for you.

you girls rock!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

christmas card pictures & a video from santa

i asked the kiddos to smile for me tonight. we got a few good pictures in front of the tree. i picked the one above for our christmas card.

they had a great time just clowning around for me.

ta da!!

my handsome 4 year old.

now, for the super silly pictures!!

i am so glad to have this off my list. now, to pick them up at walmart tomorrow & send em out!

& here's a fun website that sends an online video to your kiddo from santa.
i wish i would have recorded their reactions.
ben was in total amazement that santa knew his name, had a picture of him in his nice book, knew he had been good to his sister & knew what he wanted for christmas. i think it might even help him to be good these next few weeks!

ben's pinata party

sunday was beano's 4th birthday pinata party with some of his little friends and family.

gracie & he got to decorate the cake. daddio determined the theme was a junkyard.

the kiddos enjoying their cake & ice cream.

aunt deedee got benj the cracker barrel version of a zhu zhu pet, which gracie has claimed for her own.

those little boogers are a pain to get out of hair!

the highlight of the party was of course, the t-rex pinata.

the birthday boy at bat. swing batter batter!

ethan knocked the first piece of candy out.

when the dinosaur hit the ground, the kiddos went to town tearing it apart. ben even provided some growling sound effects during the fun.

we all had such a great time with loved ones that day & enjoyed watching all the kiddos play together.
at bedtime that night, i asked ben was his favorite part of the day was. he said it was playing with alaina's daddy pillow fight. i think he took a beating from the kids!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

our candy cane cottages

we found the cutest little gingerbread house kits at the factory card outlet for under $2. daddio got home at a somewhat decent time tonight, so tonight was construction night. these ended up being so much easier & fun for the kiddos than the large one we built last year.

gracie was really concentrating. you can tell because her tounge is stuck out.

daddio & ben were also taking the job pretty serious.

even though they are smiling in the picture, they were oh so determined to build a better home than gracie & me. not a chance.

the icing was oh so yummy & oh so sticky.

gracie putting the finishing touches on our masterpiece.

perfect! she added the windows on the roof for skylights.

the men were still building.

their finished home & happy faces. love em.

gracie had some of the decorations stuck to her. check out the gingerbread home on the table. they didn't last long till the roofs caved in & bites were taken out of them.

the week has taken a toll on the kiddos. they were both overtired tonight. once we made it to ben's bed, they both zonked out. a fun weekend ahead of a christmas dinner with papaw saturday night & a pinata party (that's what he's titled it) for ben's birthday on sunday!


this morning, ben closed his door & dressed himself in his chosen attire. he came out of his room, beaming & told me he had "fashion". i asked him if i had it & he quickly replied "no". something i've always known. thank goodness i've had fashionable friends & family growing up to help. autumne, every day when my shoes somewhat match my clothes i thank you (you taught me that in highschool, i know you don't remember that important moment but i do).

well, anyways, i wanted to get a picture of him & his "fashion". (he picked out a shirt i made for him. with a big peace sign on it. he put on his favorite khaki track pants with a stripe on the side)

here's what i got when i asked them both to smile:

i am so looking forward to getting a christmas card picture of them both.

my grandma

my grandma was one of my best friends. i would talk to her every day about the goings on in my life (a lot of times sugar coating the details, so she wouldn't worry too much). she gave all she had to her lord, her family, and her friends. she could sing so beautifully. her health was not the best as she got older. she was in pain, but never really complained much. she was always more concerned about the well being of her loved ones over herself. she was the rock of our family.

christmas was always a BIG deal for grandma, the church lady. lots of singing carols, worship & family food and fun. 7 or so years ago, i stayed all night at mom's for christmas eve. in the middle of the night, the dogs started barking waking us both up. we all settled back down & then her cell phone started vibrating. i don't remember who it was, but they were calling, saying that the ambulance took grandma to the er (if the dogs hadn't woken us up, we likely wouldn't of heard her phone vibrating). in shock, we drove to the hospital in what seemed like a blizzard to st. joseph's, inside praying that she would be ok & we would make it in the big snow. when we got there, a bit later the docs decided she needed to go to a better hospital. lifeflight couldn't fly in the weather, so the ambulance had to take her. none of the roads had been cleared off & it was quite a drive down to evansville. she made it to the hospital & on christmas, even though they weren't sure what the outcome would be, she was joking that she got everyone together like she wanted.

what a christmas that was in the intensive care unit waiting room.
justin & i were just dating at the time, but he came to be there with me. that year he got me diamond earrings for christmas & my grandma was asking me why not a ring??
we all hung out in that waiting room together, trying to crack jokes & pretend things were ok.
by new years eve eve, her condition was improving so i went with justin to his family's annual new years eve party. i was worried about her the entire time. but, she was ok that night & day.

back to work we all went (except pap) & i'd go see her when i'd get off work. papaw wasn't & isn't comfortable driving in the "city", so we'd trade off meeting papaw or picking him up. i remember telling justin one night how i was getting tired of driving pap back & forth the hour drive. i was so selfish.

she was seemed to be improving & there was talk about her after care. but, that was not the plan. that day i remember papaw & i going into see her & she seemed fine. the next visitation period a few hours later she told me she couldn't feel her hand. i went & got the nurse who checked her vitals & told us to leave & she'd be back to get us. i could see the panic in her eyes & i freaked out. i didn't even say bye to grandma, just walked quickly out of the room. i wish i would have said something.

someone came & told us we should contact the rest of the family. after that, it was pretty much a blur.

that night she died. justin & i drove home with papaw. he laid on the couch & justin & me were on the floor. i held pap's hand all night long.

after grandma died, i was so mad at god. i kept praying for a sign that she was in heaven to make me feel better. i never saw it & honestly gave up on my faith. i was just going through the motions of going to church every once in a while & such. i have my faith back now & am grateful to god for his grace, love and forgiveness.

instead of my normal talk radio, i started listening to a different station. today, when the kiddos & i were out to get stuff for beano's party i heard a song that just made me cry & cry & cry.

steven curtis chapman's "going home for christmas".

here are the lyrics:
Her house was where the family gathered every Christmas eve;
A feast was set on the table and gifts were placed beneath the tree.
Everything was picture perfect, Grandpa would laugh and say,
That woman spends the whole year getting ready for this day.

One year the leaves began to fall and her health began to fade;
We moved her to a place where they could watch her night and day.
But she kept making plans for Christmas from her little room;
She told everyone, I'll miss you but I'll be leaving soon.

I'm going home for Christmas and I'm going home to stay;
I'm going home for Christmas and nothing's gonna keep me away.
I'll be with the ones I love to celebrate the Savior's birth;
This gift will be worth more to me than anything on earth.
I'm going home, home for Christmas.

All the leaves outside have fallen to be covered by the snow;
The family comes with food and gifts and Grandpa comes alone.
There's a sadness in our silence as the Christmas story's read,
And with tears, Grandpa reminds us of the words that Grandma said.

I'm going home for Christmas and I'm going home to stay;
I'm going home for Christmas and nothing's gonna keep me away.
She'll be face to face with Jesus as we celebrate His birth,
And this gift will be worth more to her than anything on earth,
‘Cause she'll be home.

And as we sing ‘Joy to the World' I can't help thinking
Of the joy that's in her eyes right now.
And though our hearts still ache, we know that as we celebrate,
She's singing with the herald angels and heaven's glowing on her face.

And now she's home for Christmas and now she's home to stay;
She's home for Christmas, and nothin' could've kept her away.
She'll be face to face with Jesus, as we celebrate His birth,
And this gift will be worth more to her than anything on earth.
She's home, she's home for Christmas.
She is home, she's home for Christmas.

i think he wrote that about her.

grandma, i love you & miss you. i think about you all the time & see some of you in miss gracie. papaw does too.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

bedtime, schmedtime

this month is crazy around here. crazy good with the holiday season & just plain crazy...
daddio has been working some really loong hours lately. our alarm clock starts chirping around 3 in the morning.
he's getting home around 9:30 at night. i don't know how he does it. but i am thankful he is able to & grateful that he does it.

my goal of getting the kiddos asleep by 9:30 has gone out the window. they wanna see their daddy & i can't blame them. so, we read books a little longer, turn out the lights & talk until daddy comes home. then, it's time to jump outta bed & greet daddio when we here that key in the lock. of course, they both get all "wild up," as ben says, so it takes even looonger for them to go to sleep. a great luxury the kiddos have around here (since ben's preschool is in the afternoon) is sleeping in. today they got up around 10. tomorrow, i have a feeling it will be even later.

i look forward to daddio's work load lessening a bit in the new year. & some more family time together.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

happy birthday, my big boy!

my dearest beano,

oh big ben, i don't know what to say.. you are four!! & you went down the big big slide at preschool today! woohoo!! way to go buddy!

from the very beginning, you have filled our lives with so much laughter, love & fun. every memory i have with you i cherish.

the first time i changed your diaper right before we left the hospital (daddio did it the entire time we were there). you peed all over the place, spit up & pooped all in a matter of seconds. we were both crying. i was pretty sure at that point i couldn't hack it. but, so far we're making it. thank god for helping us through it all!

that first night home when i stayed up the entire night by your side just to make sure you were still breathing. & the next night when your daddy & i took shifts so someone would have their eye on you. i soon fired daddy from this, as he fell asleep & started consoling my leg (thinking it was you) when you started to cry.

i got very little sleep.

oh my goodness, i worried over every little thing about you when you were a baby.

your jaundice that seemed to last forever.
you were such a cute little glow worm. we were so excited when you were off the blanket for new years eve!

your big, funny shaped head (i covered that cone head up with a hat, you're welcome:))

i still do worry about you (a momma always will), but i'm trying to let go a bit & let you fly more on your own.

daddio & i are so proud to be your momma & daddy and help you to grow. you are such a smart cookie. you come up with stuff in your head that just amazes me. your sense of humor is hilarious, just like your momma's. you have such a tender, loving heart. you are such a great big brother. you have always helped take care of her, look out for her & are great at teaching her new things. sissy bella loves you so much too.

i love you, my little- i mean big dragon breath boy!


Monday, November 30, 2009

trimming the tree

one thing on my to do list we didn't get done over the weekend was decorating the tree.

so when daddio got home tonight we got to it.

we let the kiddos do most of the decorating.

there's quite a few ornaments at the very bottom.

daddio said this was the best tree we've ever had (even with the lights burned out on the bottom section). i agree.

& we received a call tonight from new daddy brandon that miss hayden made her debut into the world. congrats lori & brandon, we are so happy for you & look forward to meeting your little girl!

turkey weekend, big ben's first 2 parties & the circus

gracie was feeling much better on thanksgiving, so we decided to pack up & visit our families that day.
but first she had to have an indian headband just like big brother made in preschool.

she cracks me up how she always has that tongue stuck out when she is concentrating. i guess her great great grandma used to do the same thing.

her & ben worked super hard to get it just right. i didn't get a picture of them in the finished products, but they were cute! he named her running earth & his name was soaring eagle.

we headed to papaw's house for lunch. aunt peggy, cousins luke & kristen, damaw & papaw were all there.
papaw was sporting his sunglasses after his cataract surgery. he can see once again- yea!

lots of food & we had round 1 of ben's birthday celebrations. the kiddos are blessed with so many that love them, so we end up having 2 or 3 birthday parties. it's pretty much a celebration from thanksgiving to the new year!
here is his dinosaur/monster truck cake. the kiddos helped decorate it by putting about 2 pounds of sprinkles on it.

after our bellies were full & ben had tackled everyone till they couldn't take it anymore (sorry again, aunt peggy for that horrible wake up from ben), we headed to cousin monica's for another feast. some more wonderful food & family time was had.

on to namaw & poppy's for the weekend to play some tiddlywinks, pool, cards, pinball and skip rocks in the creek. big ben ended up catching gracie's illness, but he was still tough enough for his birthday party there.

he had a great time decorating for the party (spent forever on his birthday chair)& greeting all his "guestes", as he called them.
i didn't get a good picture of his cake, but it was a racetrack with cars on it. he said it was "sorta cool" at first, until he realized he could actually race the cars. then it was "awesome!"

as if the weekend wasn't fun filled enough, we had a sunday of church & the circus. ben's preschool performed at the church there. he really got into the song "i'm in the lord's army". he about hit poor amarah in the head every time he'd salute or pretend to shoot. he was definitely fired up. he enthusiastically answered all of pastor janet's questions during the children's sermon. i was cracking up at him. that kid.

after church, we ate some lunch, started to pick up our messy house & got ready for the circus.

at the circus, gracie got to ride a pony!

& ben got his cotton candy! (we were going to ride an elephant, but he saw the cotton candy guy & begged for that instead)

after that though, she was quite a grumblegort.
even through all the noise, she somehow fell asleep

she woke up happy to see a big tub of popcorn.

the circus was a bit too loud for the kiddos.

my favorite part of the circus is the motorcycle riders in the ball. this time it didn't go as planned, they crashed. but thank goodness, they were all able to get up & walk away from it. we asked the kiddos what their favorite parts were & ben's was playing with daddy & momma, trying to scare us. gracie's favorite part was the fireworks at the end - not the pony; go figure.

today, me & the kiddos slept in - hallelujah!