Friday, December 31, 2010

A Whirlwind Christmas

Our Christmases are always a busy, busy affair. This year, it seemed even more so, what with the push to finish final school papers condensing what would normally be a prolonged month-long preparation into a frantic last-minute flurry of activity. Our trip to Texas also seemed short this year, but with most of Jerry's vacation hours already spent, we were trying to conserve what he has left, as it must last through spring break.

Our first stop was Grandma and Papaw's house, where we got to see cousin Gabriel and meet our newest cousin, Cheyenne, for the first time. The girls had fun playing with their cousins, and Cheyenne took an immediate liking to Maggie, which she was over the moon about. She's going to make a great babysitter some day!

Christmas Eve we went to GGma's house. The girls were the only "kids" there, since Cousin Korbin was with his mom for the evening. All the grownups were there - the Powells and the Weimans. Cousin Scott kept trying to classify himself with the kids, but we said that since he could vote and paid taxes, he had to count himself among the grown ups. Here's Papaw, Gracie and Scott:

GGma got the biggest Whitman's sampler any of us had ever seen!

It was good to see everyone - here's Paige, Ronnie and Jerry:

Maggie got some very exciting presents - a telescope, to help her further her interest in astronomy, which she studied in school last semester, and a hair-dryer that is just her size - a sure sign that she is becoming a young lady!

Here, Gracie shows off a few of the fashion items she got - pin, mittens, bracelet and purse!

We left GGma's and headed to Nana and Granddad's house. Our cousins there were already snug in their beds, and the girls followed them to dreamland shortly after. When we came downstairs the next morning, the living room looked like a toy store, what with four kiddos with presents from Santa! Both girls were excited to receive Legos - a police station for Maggie, and a castle for Gracie. They were ready to dig right in, but there wasn't enough time right then.

Here Gracie shows Aunt Amy and Uncle Brad a new book she got - Bad Kitty vs Uncle Murray!

Will was quite busy with his aircraft carrier. . .

And it wasn't long before everyone was playing with everyone's toys!

Of course, our biggest Christmas blessing was that Uncle Brad got out of the hospital in time to be with family for Christmas!

The Culps arrived, and we had a fine lunch of Mexican food, and then it was time to move on to our next stop, Mimi and Pepaw's house. All of the great-uncles were there, Bill, Larry and Jimmy, as well as Uncle Aaron, so it was a full house.

Uncle Larry and Uncle Aaron were staying at Mimi and Pepaw's house too, so we got to have fun till bedtime!

The next morning Larry headed back to Houston, and the rest of us had a relaxing day, going to Whataburger for lunch and playing Mexican train, which Maggie seems to have a real knack for. The next morning we packed up and headed back to Oklahoma.

Now it's only 364 days until we get to do it all again!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Mitten Accomplished!

The girls and I got busy making cookies a few days before Christmas. I made gingerbread dough first, which was supposed to be shaped into a disc, wrapped in plastic wrap, and chilled to be able to roll out and make cookies. Problem was, I was too impatient to wait for the boiled molasses mixture to cool, so my dough was more the consistency of melted fudge. Not really shapeable. . . I thought it looked more like a cowpattie in a bowl than rolled cookie dough. I just stuck the whole thing in the refrigerator and hoped for the best.

The next morning the girls and I made sugar cookie dough before we headed out to see Santa. The girls requested the visit, and took little clipped pieces of the American Girl catalog to be sure their wishes were conveyed accurately.

When we got home we started rolling out the cookies. Had it been just me we would have made three shapes of cookies, tops. With the girls helping me, we ended up with eight shapes. We did the sugar first, and after the first couple of sheets of cookies, I was on my own. I made a small army of gingerbread men, as the dough had firmed up quite nicely, practically becoming one with the bowl.

The next morning we started the icing process. Again, had it been up to me - three colors, tops. With the girls, we ended up with seven colors - the rainbow, plus white.

We used these little icing decorators that I got from Pampered Chef a few years back. The icing was a bit thick, and at first it was a little challenging. One of the decorators popped its top when Gracie squeezed it a bit hard, but we got the hang of it pretty quickly.

We were all working on our cookies, and Gracie was very diligently working at putting stars on a mitten-shaped cookie as I was making a gingerbread man arm. All was quiet as we concentrated on our work when Gracie sighed, put down her decorator, and announced, "Mitten Accomplished!" I got a good laugh out of that - I'm not sure she understood what was so funny. Here is said mitten:

And here is some of my gingerbread army. Not a bad final product for starting out as a cowpattie in a bowl.

Friday, December 17, 2010


Gracie woke up yesterday with a high-ish fever, so she missed school (and her class Christmas party) that day. I called the pediatrician's office, but the earliest she could work us in was 4:30 that afternoon.

So, after Maggie got home, I loaded up the kids and we headed to the pediatrician's office. They did a flu test on Gracie, and it was not the flu. This was the first time Maggie had met our new pediatrician, and she was putting on her best pre-teen "This is so totally boring, I can't believe my mom dragged me out here" routine. That is, right up until I decided to take the opportunity to get her a flu shot. Then she immediately switched over into panicky child mode, running out the door of the examining room and down the hall, hollering, "NO! NO! NO!!! I don't want a SHOT!

We did get her back in the examining room, and she did get the shot, but as we left, with tears streaming down her face she kept wailing, "Why?! You are so mean!" Yup, that's me - Meanest Mommy in the World. Gotta keep up my reputation.

I tried to make it up to her by getting her a Sonic Blast (her sister got a sundae - I have to take her back after she's well to get her shot) but she was still pretty put out with me. I can't really blame her though.

Gracie had only a small fever last night, but this morning it was back in full force - 103.8, but dropped to 100.3 after ibuprofen. Hopefully she'll feel better by Monday. Still - wouldn't want to get a babysitter sick, so it is looking like no Harry Potter for us this weekend either. I'm beginning to think I won't get a chance to see it before it leaves the theater. I'll just have to keep my fingers crossed!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I'm Back!

Well, as you may have guessed, graduate school didn't get any easier as the semester wore on. I had hoped that as my first semester of graduate school progressed I would get more into the swing of things, and that I would have time to do all the things I used to do, like update this blog for instance. BWHAHAHAHAAA!!!!

Okay, so let's just face the facts. I was (and am) busy. I haven't blogged, even though I've had several thoughts and activities that were definitely blog-worthy. I should be guilt-ridden with all the things I've let slide, of which the blog is probably the least important, but as far as the blog is concerned, I'm guessing not many people have missed the posts, except maybe my parents, and I do regularly update my parents via methods other than the blog. So, I'm going to let go of that guilt, and if you are really curious about what's been going on, read on!

After talking with an experienced MLIS student, I decided to keep all three of my classes. That turned out to be a mistake, as I barely had time to breathe all semester. I feel like I rushed through all my schoolwork, and was so overwhelmed with information, I'm not sure how much of it will 'stick', but it is done. I am one-quarter finished with my Master's. Things I learned: Never take three classes per semester again. I'm signed up for two next semester (one of which is on campus), so hopefully it will be a little less stressful.

I'll have to go look at what pictures I took to see what actually happened in the last few months, and hopefully post a few items, because, honestly, I don't remember anything but school.

Everything else is a blur.


The most important update I have is that Amy (my sister), her hubby Brad, and their two kids were involved in a major car accident on the way home from Thanksgiving. Brad is still at Parkland with broken legs, Amy has limited mobility due to a broken ankle and foot, and the kids were uninjured. She is keeping everyone updated via her blog, Amy's Antics, which you can click over to on the blogging friends section. We appreciate your prayers for both physical healing and spiritual strength during this time. Thanks!