"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." John 14:18

Saturday, November 29, 2008

It's Lookin' Like Christmas

It's lookin' like Christmas around here. I love having the tree decorated and the stockings hung. It is my favorite time of the year. My Mom is very big on traditions...especially around Christmas. This year, our family grabbed on to one of the traditions my mom started. We had a decorating party with food and Christmas music. We feasted on chips and queso, little smokies, jalapeno poppers, sweet pickles, ham, cheese and crackers....oh and don't forget the yummy sugar cookies. The only thing we didn't do that my family did is a child is everyone was required to have a talent....at least not this year.

Feasting on our yummy junk food.
Checking out all of the ornaments.
Attempting to hang the star on the tree.Hanging the star on the tree with a little help.
Oliver's choice of spots.
Stockings are hung by the chimney with care.

I set up my department 56 snow village and the boys want to play with it so badly. Every time Oliver goes near it he says, "It's not a toy!". The first thing Clayton does every morning is turn the tree on, and the first thing Oliver does is run straight to the snow village and ask for the lights to be turned on. They are so into it this year.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Bad Hair Days....

.....are of the past.........at least for about 4 weeks.

Winter Swimming

We have not taken advantage of the indoor swimming pool at our gym. The kids love to swim, so why not a day of winter swimming? They loved it. I loved it too because it was a major energy releaser.

The last time we swam was in August, but the boys went straight in.....no fear. Oliver really wanted to go to the outdoor pool, but he finally gave in.
...and had a great time.
They spent lots of time in the waterfall.
Loving the water...can we come here everyday??
Our friends, Grant and Amelia came to play too.
Miss Millie was not a fan of the water today...or getting her picture taken.
The whole gang.

Loving brothers....at least at this moment.
After several hours of swimming, we headed for much needed haircuts and lunch at subway. I have missed having both of my boys at home together..... especially when they are having so much fun together.
**Sidenote:Clayton said today that he really hopes there is a baby sister in my tummy. He said he thinks bows are so cute. I reminded him that there is a good possibility that there could be a baby brother in my tummy.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Just Me and My Boys

I am so thankful for days when we don't have any concrete plans....when it is just us. Today, Clayton decided he wanted to go to the World Aquarium and Oliver wanted to go to "MckinDonalds". So.....we did both. What a fun day we had!!! Just me and my boys.

Checking out the sting rays.
A cute monkey. The monkeys were in crazy form.
My sweet boys.
The sloth has a new home. He is so cute.
Clayton thinks the catfish are dancing to his music he is making on the glass.
"They really are!"
Oliver is chasing some turtles.
The shark tank. This shark looks like it is about to eat Clayton.I love this picture.We could stay all day in the shark tank.
We had such a fun day together. And...no obedience problems. I guess we got that in check yesterday. Even at McDonald's, I told Clayton that it was time to go and he went straight to the shoe bin to put his shoes on.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A fun morning....a very bad afternoon.

We met all of the Halpin family cousins this morning at a new playground and nature preserve. The kids loved taking a little hike and exploring in the creek. Cool Aunt Rachel led the expedition. After exploring the creek (and having a small fall in the creek..Oliver) the kids headed on a new trail looking for a sleeping bear. The funny thing is that they really thought they were going to find a sleeping bear. I forgot to get my camera out until the end, so I don't have that many pictures.
Rachel, Noah and Owen throwing rocks into the creek.
Mia loving on P-sters. She loves taking care of him.

All of the cousins.
Loving the outdoors.
Looking for some good sticks to take home.
The whole gang headed to the creek.
Will is so excited that his Daddy came back.
Walking across the bridge in style. Lovin' the hoodie.
Cute Mia!
After such an active morning and early afternoon outdoors, I thought the afternoon and evening would go so smoothly. Boy was I wrong. Oliver didn't take a nap and Clayton....let's just say that we did not get along so well today. He was disobedient, argumentative, and disrespectful ALL day. I am not sure if it is hard for him to be at home since he is usually at school all day...I don't know. It was one of those days when I sit down after everyone is in bed and question if I am capable of this job....parenting. We had to reset some boundaries today. It was hard, but I am hoping that tomorrow will be a better day.

Since Joel is at work until 10pm on Mondays, our evenings can be really long. Despite the difficult day, we had fun playing hours of hide and seek and building the biggest tent ever. The tent looks flat in this picture, but I took it from overhead. It was quite the tent. It took up our whole den.
Making up stories in our tent.Pretending we are camping.I was actually going to let the boys sleep in the tent, but Clayton had another moment that led to an early bedtime.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pre-Thanksgiving

Happy Pre-Thanksgiving! I will be working on Thanksgiving Day and wanted to have a special Thanksgiving dinner with my family. I am tired of missing out. So, I invited my parents and Joel's parents over for dinner. I cooked the whole meal all by myself. This for sure was a first. I cooked for 6 hours straight. All of the recipes had so many ingredients and so much chopping. I spent several weeks researching recipes and planning out the menu. Everything turned out great!!
Waiting for the turkey thermometer to pop. The rolls, mashed potatoes and gravy got left out of the picture.
The Menu (links to recipes included)
Cranberry Sauce
I think I got an extra sour batch of cranberries because these were really tart.

Day Before Mashed Potatoes
Not pictured, but super yummy. I did not make them the day before, but it would have been great if I did. I would have spent a little less time in the kitchen.

Southern Cornbread Dressing with Apple and Cranberries
I was a little intimidated by the dressing. My Grammaw (dad's mom) had her own special recipe, Momma Pat (mom's mom) has her own special recipe. Could I live up to it?? I thought it was pretty good. I loved the cranberries.

Orange Scented Green Beans
I love fresh green beans. These are a favorite of mine.

Herb Roasted Turkey Breast with Pan Gravy
Well, after spending 30 minutes at the store trying to figure out which turkey to buy and having to stick my hands under the skin of the turkey to season it(so gross), the turkey actually turned out really good. The recipe calls for a boneless turkey, but I got a bone in turkey. It was really moist and flavorful. I usually don't like turkey because it is so dry, but I really like this recipe.

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle
If you don't like pumpkin or gingerbread, then this is not the dessert for you. It is not lacking in flavor. I didn't realize that my parents are not fans of pumpkin, but I really enjoyed it. It looked really nice also.