Tuesday, December 30, 2008


...in the blink of an eye, Christmas was gone. But what a glorious time we had!
We were a little fearful that the trip would be a "long" one when our DD only wanted to sing one verse of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" over and over and over and over again. When Dad and I tried to make that one verse more entertaining we were reprimanded and forced to sing it "the right way" over and over... We arrived home in the wee hours of Christmas Eve morning and, after a brief nap began the holiday's festivities. My DH, Dad and I headed out Christmas Eve to go hunting at "the poor farm". Unfortunately, we weren't very successful that first evening.

Christmas day brought more than we could have wished for. Everyone received wonderful gifts and the children had a blast playing with theirs, including opening up "Salon James". DD received a beauty pack with a battery operated hair dryer. We caught a pix of our DS playing beautician to his sister.

My grandparents, an uncle, and two great-uncles came over later that day for dinner and we had a wonderful time visiting with them.Friday the guys and I left Nanny home with the kiddos while we went hunting again. After not seeing diddly that morning we were blessed to get several deer Friday evening. Yeah! We have meat! Of course, the guys gave me a bit of a hard time cause during our downtime (around lunch) I sat around in my camo/hunting gear and pulled out my knitting (a scarf for my SIL). (pix is our obligatory heading out to go hunting photo that Mom always takes. Please note that it is about 4:30 am-ish and not only am I not awake but I've not had NEAR enough coffee!)

Saturday was a family fun packed day as Mom's side of the family got together to celebrate Christmas. It was SO great seeing everyone (we had to cancel last year's gathering due to bad weather). Many laughs were had and catching up was done...and much eating of many yummies of course.

Sunday we had to head back our house (so we missed seeing all Dad's side extended family). We made a pit stop in Fort Worth to see my brother, SIL, and nephew. Court had fun playing with his cousins and they LOVED seeing and playing with him! It was a bop in/bop out visit but I'm so thankful for the little time we were able to spend with them.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Just What He Asked For

When I asked my brother what he wanted for Christmas, he noted that anything red, black and/or white would be wonderful, with anything to do with Texas Tech, a plus. Well, he was apparently a good boy this year cause he's getting everything he asked for. Ha ha..

As usual, I was working up until the last minute on Christmas gifts this year and finished Rhett's late last night (we leave today for Christmas with my family up in the Texas Panhandle). I'm SO excited about how his present turned out, I can't wait for him to see it and I SO hope he likes it.

I made him an adjustable, felted guitar strap with Texas Tech logo embedded on the back side and an image of his and dad's tattoo on the front of the strap. Working from nothing but an idea in my head, it turned out exactly as I'd dreamed it would.

Fisherman's Wool in natural (that I had stashed) and Lion Wool in black and red were used to knit this strap. I hand felted it and then hand sewed it to the black webbing (for stability and adjustability).

Hot Coffee, Warm Fingers

We leave this afternoon/evening (Tuesday) for Christmas in the Arctic Tundra of the Texas Panhandle. I finished weaving in the ends and sewing seams on the last of the knitting projects (that had any hope of getting done) for gifts this year. I made a couple of coffee cozies. The first one is the Flirtation Cozy (which I LOVE) and the other is a modified version of the knit coffee sleeve. I modified it by adding the tuck-in wrap from the flirtation cozy. I knit these using some beautiful Earth color Cashmere blend yarn I had in my stash. They were for my grandparents who may be the only people I know who drink more coffee than I do.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Playing Santa, Poop in the Potty & Mayhem

Reading the title for this post you may be thinking, HOW can those three things possibly go together. Well, welcome to a day of my life.

This morning found my children having had stripped the red pillowcase off my son's pillow and stuffed the pillowcase with various toys from their room. They were taking turns lugging around the bag of toys and playing Santa. Whomever was Santa at the time would inquire of the other what did they want for Christmas. Once the desired toy was mentioned, "Santa" would dig through the pack and find a toy that matched. What fun they were having. They were so sweet and innocent and cute and funny... If only that could last. Alas, as is typical with my children, the cuteness wore off as the day went on.

We were blessed enough to have access to a hydraulic log splitter (for 1/2 the cost thanks to sharing the rental with a friend) for the afternoon. Now when we agreed to split the rental we'd yet to learn how extremely cold it was outside. A whopping 27 degrees had us bundling up in our long johns and hunting overalls, gloves and hats to work outside splitting the wood we'd obtained early in year from felling our largest oak (it was doing house damage and sadly, had to go).

We came inside at one point to warm up a bit only to find that our son had FINALLY pooped in the potty YIPPEE...He's doing a jig in the bathroom buck naked and with a completely RED face/neck. That's right... the kids got into my lipstick and painted their faces and necks COMPLETELY with it. They were SOLID red all over their faces and necks. While there was a little lipstick on things other than their bodies, I AM thankful it wasn't like the last time this happened. Still, it was chore getting it cleaned off them. (Not as bad as the dry erase markers they colored themselves and their chairs with last week... My son STILL has a big blue mark on his belly that will NOT come off. Anyway, I digress...

My DH gets the kiddos cleaned (as best he can with scrubbing and a bath). We were SO torn between being SO excited about the poop in the potty yet being so frustrated at the lipstick everywhere. URG. Well, kids went down for a nap and we went back to splitting wood.

We'd come in to check on the kids when they awakened from their nap and they were quietly playing with one another so we went to finish the splitting of the wood. During this time, my children decided that having gotten into the baby locked drawer with my makeup earlier wasn't nearly enough "fun" for one day so they proceeded to open the baby locked cabinet underneath and get into my nail polish. Yes... I said nail polish. Candy Apply Red, to be exact. When we came in to check on the kids and call it a night for wood splitting, we found my darling boy all excited to show us his "pretty" toenails and fingernails. Sister had painted them for him. In turn, he'd painted hers. Needless to say, hers didn't look nearly as well as his did, but that is beside the point. I spent the next little amount of time scrubbing nail polish off all surfaces while my DH had to give our precious daughter yet another bath. You see, in addition to the nail polish, she'd decided to almost empty the hairspray onto her hair and used their toothpaste as her hair gel.

As Bill Cosby said in one of his old routines, "The beatings will now begin".... Ahhhh. Just another day in the James' household. I'm trying to give homemade gifts for Christmas this year.... which one of my children would you like?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Here One Minute, Gone the Next

Well, the kiddos were too busy curling up in blankets with their hot cocoa to think about going outside. Which is okay with me 'cause it is COLD out there today.

While there are a couple places where a little snow can still be seen around the yard, it did, for the most part, disappear by morning. I don't know why I thought it would all still be here considering it was a record 81 degrees here yesterday. Oh well, it was still fun to see while it lasted and I'm grateful that it didn't affect the roads for morning commuters.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

80 Degrees in the Morning, SNOW at Night

So it is about 20 minutes to midnight and I SHOULD be fast asleep, but I'm not. Instead I'm writing about the fact that it is SNOWING outside right now. Late morning today, it was about 80 degrees. Now, it is snowing. This afternoon it was quite blustery and by earlier this evening, it was getting down right nippy. After I'd come in from having covered all my plants, there came a rain storm which turned into sleet. Now, it is snowing. Have I mentioned that already?

I can't wait to see the kids' expressions in the morning when they see the white on the ground. Granted, it isn't going to be enough to build any spectacular snowmen or have fantastic snowball fights and will very likely be gone in a flash, but for tonight and early tomorrow morning, we have snow.

Well, I need to get to bed and probably should dig out the kiddos' gloves and coats to have ready for them in the morning cause I know there will be no stopping them from going outside to play in this, what is to us Austinites, foreign substance called snow.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Wait for it....

What a hectic week. My parents made the trek down early to help us prepare for our DD's 4th bday party. As usual, we put them to work! Dad helped my DH repair some missing panels on my greenhouse as we were going to be getting a freeze one night and we all got most of my plants moved into the greenhouse or covered to protect them from the winter weather. The guys also got the lights on the Christmas tree. Mom kept ├╝ber busy cleaning the house for us and helping to decorate the tree and the house for Christmas. (While we are hoping and planning on making our annual trek up north for Christmas, on the off-chance we don't get to, I wanted it to feel like home for the holidays.)

The kids had fun helping to decorate the tree but my DS discovered just how tiring a job it is.

In addition to cleaning, cooking and decorating, my mom helped me pull together decorations to make a woodland fairy wonderland for my DD's 4 year bday party on Saturday. We were very tickled with how everything turned out. We had flowers and wood vines and "fairy" lights and tulle...it was a perfect little setting for our fairy themed bday party.

A mistake I made this year was not decorating the cake on Friday night. I did bake the cake and even worked on making some flowers but as I was already running behind, they weren't going to have enough time to dry and transport from the paper to the cake so I decided I could just pipe them directly onto the cake...no problem. Well.....with everything else going on to get ready Saturday, having to decorate the cake was, well, a little much on my plate, mostly due to the fact that I'd practiced piping the flowers on the nail, which spins, and when piping them directly on the cake, I couldn't tilt the cake and/or spin it (when doing the sides) like on the nail. Urg. I did get it done, and on time, but not without a few head spinning episodes. It all turned out well though, and it tasted yummy (which is the main thing)!

The FUNNIEST part of the day occurred while my DD was opening her gifts. As she'd unwrap each gift, she'd say, "Wait for it...wait for it". We were rolling with laughter. I don't know where she got that phrase, but it was funny.

We were fortunate enough to not only have my parents here but also my brother and his family. We took advantage of this reunion to take a family photo.

After everyone had left, my family sat around and enjoyed some wonderful time together. I got to spend some much appreciated time with my new little nephew (who's 8 months old now..holy cow) and my brother kept busy playing with my kiddos.
Between playing with Barbies with both kids (I don't know how I got just the boys in this photo, but it cracks me up) and playing "wheelbarrow" with my son, my bro did a good job wearing them out. His funny quote of the day was when he was was heard hollering, "Let's go accessorize!" to my DD (referring to dressing up Barbie in some new things he'd snuck off to get for her).

Sadly, my brother, SIL, and nephew had to return home. Our night wasn't over yet though. Well, my mom's wasn't anyway. Before bed, my mom rolled my DD hair so she'd have lots of curls for Sunday. DD had been beggin for this. Unfortunately, as soon as she went to bed, she pulled them all out so no curls the next morning.

Despite the lack of curls, however, our little 4 year old still looked like a little angel Sunday morning in her new outfit from Nanny & Granddad.

Whew...what a trip. One bday down, one more to go. This next time, I'll try to have everything done the night before the party. Hey, I'm already ahead of the game. I know what I'm doing for the cake... Stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Gobble Gobble

Okay, so I wrote about our Christmas Tree before I spoke to the Thanksgiving holiday. That is just how my brain seems to be working these days.....scattered. I hope you will bear with me. We'll take you back to the Christmas holiday shenanigans at the James' house very soon.

As has become our tradition, we had Thanksgiving at my in-laws. 17 friends and family gathered together on Thursday to give thanks for the blessings in our lives. As always, the food and fellowship were wonderful and everyone had a great time.

I was excited to use a old green "candy bowl" as part of this years' decor (centerpiece). I'd gotten it from my mom years ago and absolutely love it. A couple other goodies I've collected over the years made up the rest of the decor for this years Thanksgiving table. Figuring out how to "undo" the napkins proved to be a source of fun as well...a couple references to Jeff Dunham's Achmed the Dead Terrorist were used to explain how to "unroll" the napkins which, inevitably, led to several laughs from a few of us. Took longer than I'll admit here to roll those things and only a split second to "pull the 'fuse'" and place them in one's lap.

I'm very thankful to have a wonderful family - mine AND my husband's, healthy children, and for the blessings I'm bestowed each and every single day, be they big or small. I hope everyone who reads this had as wonderful a Thanksgiving as we did.

Making the Tree "Handsome" & Eager to Decorate

So the waiting for Dad to put the lights on the tree is apparently far more than the kids can stand. Last night, while we were outside putting up lights on the house, they got their hands on the craft scissors and our DS decided he needed to, as he put it, "make the Christmas tree handsome" by cutting some of its branches. Our DD opened a box of ornaments and put them on the tree...all in one little bitty group. We've swept up the pine needles and put up the surviving ornaments (unfortunately, there were a few casualties) so we can string the lights but we did get a little pix to share of our children's first ornament hanging adventure.

The Biggest, Most Beautiful Tree Ever!

The other day we were looking to set up the Christmas tree but couldn't find it anywhere. Even a trip to the inlaws to look in their attic turned nothing. We were going bonkers trying to remember where we'd stored our larger Christmas tree. While talking to my mom later that day and sharing our confusion on the location of the Christmas tree, she reminded me that we'd given the tree to them last year. THAT'S RIGHT!! As soon as she told me, I remembered (of course, I guess that goes without saying, huh?)

Well, since I'd already rearranged the furniture so I could have a Christmas tree in the front window, Sunday after church, we took the kids to get a Christmas tree. After inspecting several, we picked one, brought it home and set it up. Not had a real tree since I was a kid and the smell has me all giddy and feeling like a child once more. While the kiddos were there when we bought the tree, we didn't set it up in the house until they were down for their naps. Upon waking they were excited about the gigantic tree in the living room.

DS: "Woooow. It's cool"
DD: "It is the biggest, most beautiful tree. This is the bestest Christmas ever!!"

The kids are correct. It IS cool. It IS big. And it IS the most beautiful tree. We've allowed it to "rest" and will hopefully be putting on the lights tonight. Of course, seeing how this tree is larger than what I expected, we'll probably have to make a run for some more lights and possibly more garland. My mom is bringing us some more ornaments to fill it up. I've only got ornaments for a small, slim line tree. The tree gracing half of my living room right now is far from small or slim. I LOVE IT!