Friday, November 30, 2007

Christmas Questions

Feel free to snatch this and add it to your blog - that is what I did. :)

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? I like wrapping paper most, but I must admit, some things end up in gift bags.
2. Real tree or artificial? Artificial
3. When do you put up the tree? Right after Thanksgiving
4. When do you take the tree down? My goal: New Year's Eve-ish. It doesn't always happen that way though.
5. Do you like eggnog? No
6. Favorite gift received as a child? Don't remember many things... I think I'd have to say a floppy baby doll at my Granny's house and a doll cradle that my great-grandpa made for me. Still have both of them.
7. Do you have a nativity scene? Many. I LOVE them!
8. Hardest person to buy for? ???? My dad. Corey is a close second.
9. Easiest person to buy for? My kids
10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Can't say right now... Makes you wonder, right?
11. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail... HOPEFULLY I'll get some sent this year.
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Elf - HILARIOUS!
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I look for deals all year long, but the bulk of my shopping is done in late-Nov./ Dec.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Probably
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Peanut Brittle, Fudge
16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Clear
17. Favorite Christmas song? Can't decide... but probably something by Amy Grant
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Usually, we stay home. Occasionally, we go to Colorado.
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Only if I sing the song...
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Star
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? PJs on Christmas Eve. Everything else on Christmas morning.
22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Not much... Probably the fact that I can't do all of the fun projects that I want to do with my kids.
23. What I love most about Christmas? My kids' excitement, Christmas Morning (I wake up earlier than anyone else), Wearing my PJs all day on Christmas, Looking at decorations, Shopping for people I love, Christmas Eve service, Receiving Christmas cards

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night... I'm going to bed.

Happy 1st Birthday Asher!

Last year on a cold November day my sister Sara and her husband Beau welcomed a sweet baby boy, Asher Case Waters, into their family. (His middle name stands for my siblings and my names - Coby, Amy, Sara, & Emily.) He is the sweetest, happiest, funniest little thing, and I love him like crazy! Today is his first birthday... Happy Birthday Ashman!

Remembering Red River

Anyone that knows me or has read my blog for a while knows that my family LOVES Red River, NM. We have gone there many times, and it has become to feel like our home-away-from-home. So, naturally, we have sweet Red River represented on our Christmas tree.

I have so many memories of Red River...

The first time - I was pregnant, Allie was 2, Corey learned to fly-fish. We went on a hike and ate our picnic lunch in a tree house in the woods. (I don't know who built it or why.) We made s'mores in our hotel room's fireplace, and Allie was terrified of the popping wood. Allie and I made a pallet on the riverbank and told stories in our "pillow-cave" as Corey fished beside us. We all went into the Cimarron Canyon. Allie played on a playground of fallen trees and boulders while Corey fly-fished, and we found the Drinking Log for the first time. Corey & Allie went on a horseback ride on Patches while I sat with my journal beside a lake in the heart of the mountains. True peace.

When Jack was a baby we were on a trek to Colorado and made a detour to Red River. We just could not be that close without stopping and soaking it in. My memories - picnicing in the Cimmaron Canyon, playing beside the river, the best mountain-breakfast ever at Shotgun Willie's, shopping, family pictures on the bridge, and riding go-carts with Allie.

Cooper was 3 months old and typically cried almost every moment that he was in the car. So what did we do? Go on a long car-trip! Makes sense, right? That tells you how much we needed a break from real life! He actually fell asleep, so we drove all night - too scared of what would happen if we stopped as planned. We pulled into town as the sun was coming up. Perfect timing to eat breakfast at our favorite - Shotgun Willie's. Then, we set up camp, and yes... we slept in a tent for a week with a baby. Our campsight was on the river, and the big-kids were in heaven. We hiked and played and shopped and fly-fished. Oh! It was wonderful!

Then, there was this year. There is an insanely long post from that trip in my July 2007 archives. The short-version... A last minute decision to go to the mountains, a short & sweet stop at my grandparents' house, a beautiful campsite on the river, a torrential rain storm, a flooded campsite and a leaky tent, a middle-of-the-night escape into town to find one of only a very few hotel rooms, renting a funny little car for an hour tour of Red River, playing at the park, exploring, reading a book, shopping and fishing (of course), and a stop at the Drinking Log and Cadillac Ranch on the way home.

2005 ~

2007 ~

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Truth About Being A Big Brother

I just overheard Jack telling Corey the funniest thing as he was rebuilding his Lego ship (again)...

"Sometimes I want to be a big brother so bad becasue the baby is so cute. Then... 'BANG!' he breaks my Lego set."

The 4 Become 5

These are the ornaments that I gave Corey on 2 of the years that babies were added to our family.

The 4 Of Us...

Turning Into The 5 of Us...

It is funny how when you think of some things they can seem so distant yet so close all at the same time. It is hard to remember a time in my life that I was not a wife or a mom. That is just "who" I am. When I had Allie it was like the one moment that I had waited my entire life for had finally happened. I could not imagine doing anything besides loving her and taking care of her. When I was expecting Jack, I was nervous that I would not know how to love him with the depth that I loved her. I didn't know how he would "fit" into my happy little family. But he did. Soon after he was here, I couldn't imagine life without him. It was as if he had always been. Getting Cooper here was a chore. I had never wanted something so desperately as I did when I was expecting him. I tried to have a baby to hold in my arms for so long that I think once he arrived, that place was warmed up and ready to go. He was where he was supposed to be - where my heart had ached for him to be. So, of course, he fit. I always knew that growing a family from 2 to 3 to 4 to 5 members would happen. It would somehow miraculously work, but I still don't understand how a heart can expand and love so much when it is already loving to its full capacity. It is a mystery, but I am thankful for it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Hand-Made Mitten

Allie made this ornament when she was in preschool. She was 4 years old. It is one of my all time favorites of the kids' homemade ornaments. It is just made out of construction paper and paint all laminated together, but there is just something about my kiddos handprints and fingerprints (and footprints, for that matter) that I adore!

More Playtime

I got another nativity out today (step #27 in this year's Christmas decorating), and the boys have had such fun playing with it. Cooper makes Baby Jesus "cry" and says, "Oh! I think he wants his mommy." then crashes him into Mary. He is very intent that once Jesus is put into the manger, no one should touch him... it might wake him up. (He takes after his mom on that one.) This is the first time I have seen him pretend like this, and it is so cute! After they were done playing with the nativity, I asked Coop to set it up before he moved on to the football game with Jack, and this is what I found when he was done. Everything stacked nicely in a pile. (Unfortunately, he takes after me on this one too.) It made me laugh.

Football Buddies

My boys LOVE football! They love to watch it in person, watch it on TV, play it on the Wii, play it in person... but until lately they never really played it together. Today, they have played it a lot. Together. It is so cute! I never really knew if they would play much together because of their age difference, but I am beginning to think that they will. I guess as long as you are willing to be tackled, you are an acceptable playmate. As I sit and listen to Jack say, "Take it like a man!" to his baby brother after a tackle and Cooper say "Blue 42" before each and every play, I just have to smile.

Down, Set, Hut ~

Jack making the tackle ~

And, he's down ~

Coop giving his brother a little TLC after a hit to the lip ~

My Sweet, Sweet Boy

Boys! Just as I was ready to call Dr. Dobson at home for an emergency talk about Bringing Up Boys tonight, my little buddy turned back into the sweetie that I know he truly is. He is really working on learning some life-lessons right now, and sometimes I get a glimpse into his soul that lets me know that it is as hard for him to make sense of himself and his feelings as it is for me... maybe even harder. Thankfully, at the end of the day, he usually comes back to himself. The person that he truly wants to be. The person that we are raising him to be. The little man that makes his parents and his Lord proud.

The message that Jack left via candy canes on the Christmas tree...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Toilets and Telephones Don't Mix!

Trust me! I tested it today. Yes, I rescued the phone... it was an out-of-body, disgusting experience, but I did it! Note to self, don't keep cell phone in back pocket anymore.

Silent Night

I love nativity sets. If I had room for 10 of them, I'd have them. One way I squeeze more into my Christmas decor is by having nativity ornaments.

This one was Cooper's ornament-of-the-year last year. He wasn't really "into" anything at the age of one, so I just got him this sweet little nativity ornament. Hopefully he will always remember the true meaning of Christmas when he looks at it.

This one was just a little take-home from a school Christmas party of Jack's, but I love it.

This one is one that I got at an ornament exchange last year. It is painted from the inside, and it is beautiful!


There is a blog that I frequent that I have mentioned several times. It belongs to a lady, Christina, in California. She is my age and had a 2-year-old son - like me. Just this month, her baby, Judson, passed away. Her insights since that time (and before) have been amazing. Beyond amazing. I have learned so much from this person that I do not know and will probably never meet. Her blog entry today was unbelievable. Really! It is titled "Why Not?". I have copied it below, and I highly recommend checking out all of her insights on her blog. Though she is living through the most terrible pain of her life - probably the most terrible pain that is out there - her faith is really almost incomprehensible to me. I pray that I can absorb it, and integrate her lessons into my life. Thank you Christina for sharing. Through you and because of Jud my life is changed forever.

We frequently have people assume that Drake and I are asking the questions "Why, God? Why us? Why have You allowed us to walk this path of pain and suffering?" If these questions are founded in a belief that we somehow do not deserve this affliction, then this query does not sit well with me.

It appears that inherent in these particular questions is a sense of entitlement. The underlying tenet seems to assume that one somehow believes their challenges in life are not justified, or that God has given them a situation that is not fair.

I am not entitled to anything. Our lives are a gift and all that we have been given is a gift. We are not guaranteed a pain-free existence. Though it can be horribly trying, pain is part of living in a fallen world.

Moreover, the question of "Why, God?" also appears void of gratitude. When we believe we don't deserve our pain on the life journey we've been given, then it can be difficult to be thankful for the blessings that have been bestowed upon us. Discontentment breeds ingratitude.

Conversely, gratitude breeds contentment.

I want a heart that maintains a grateful posture, despite external circumstances. Ultimately, I have been given a gift that far outweighs the pains of this temporal existence—I have been given the hope of eternity with the Author and Creator of the universe, where pain will be no more, along now with the promise that my son awaits me there.

Baby Ornaments

When Allie was born I received this Precious Moments ornament for her "First Christmas". I loved it, and it matched the "Our First Christmas Together" ornament that we received when we got married. When the boys arrived, and I needed to get an ornament for their first Christmases, I wanted on that matched Allie's, so theirs are Precious Moments ones as well. I think it is cute how both of the little boys are holding birds. Hmmm... I think that this is all saying something about me. I like things that match. :)

In 2003 I was pregnant in December, so it was natural that I received many baby & maternity things for my birthday & Christmas. Who knew that only days after I received this ornament for baby #3 I would lose it. At the time I was so sad that I had material things to remind me of my pain... that my presents were "waisted" on a baby that was not to be (I know... irrational and a bit crazy). But soon after those feelings came and went, the ones of thankfulness to have anything that I could actually see and touch that reminded me of my baby came and stayed. Anything that said, "Yes, I had this baby... If only in my heart. If only for a few months. It was my baby, and it deserves an ornament on our tree like my other children." For that reason, I love this ornament, and I actually keep it (and the next one) out in our home all year round on an ornament tree that I have for the super-special, just-can't-put-them-away, not-too-Christmasee ornaments.

Only 6 months later another baby came and went, and I knew in that summer month that I must find a Christmas ornament. Now, it is hard to find an ornament for a baby that is not with you anymore. There are plenty of "Baby's 1st Christmas" ornaments (but my baby never got to have its first Christmas), or baby bottles (but my baby never got to take a bottle), or baby shoes (but my baby never got to wear shoes). So when I saw this empty, yet beautiful, baby carriage I knew that it was the one. My literal and figurative baby carriage was empty, yet the baby that was supposed to be inside was as real and wonderful and perfect as the silver ornament that I found to remember it by.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Stockings Were Hung By The Chimney With Care

Last night I decorated the mantel of our fireplace. Every year I decorate it differently. Some years it has a nativity on it, some years it has more garland than others, and before Cooper was part of the family it had stocking hangers on it (now I am scared he will pull them off on to his head). This year I went with Santas and Snowmen and Nutcrackers... Oh My! (and stockings, of course)

The Nutcracker is super-special to our family. One year before we had kids Corey took me to the ballet to see The Nucracker for my birthday. It was one of the most special occasions that we have shared. It was all very magical and beautiful for us small-town-kids that had not had much in the way of cultural experiences. When we had our little girl we could not wait to take her to see The Nutcracker... and I think she was 3 when she first went. She was glued to the dancers, she spun in the aisles, and she applauded whole-heartedly. We have taken her to see The Nutcracker most winters since then... and Jack has joined us a few times too. Thus, the Nutcracker collection. The big one was brought to Allie one year by Santa - she wanted one just like Clara's. We gave her the one that looks like Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz the year that she dressed up like her for Halloween. (It was a BIG Wizard of Oz phase.) The one in the blue dress is Clara holding a nutcracker, and the other big one is Jack's - it is dressed like a skier. (Our family LOVES to ski!) Most of the others have been bought as souveniers at the ballet.

Today my Christmas decorating continued. I put out 2 nativity sets and Allie & I decorated the kitchen banister with garland, lights, and mini-ornaments. It is all starting to come together... a few more decorating sessions inside and a nice day to decorate outside, and we will officially be decorated for Christmas. Already though, even among the mess of the Rubbermaid boxes, ornaments that are in a pile that need to be glued back together, the laundry that I am determined to finish today, the homework, the toys, and the dishes, I feel so cozy.

My Idea

So while I was decorating the tree yesterday I had this idea... I want to record the story of many of my family's ornaments and Christmas decorations and what better place to do it than here? So, beware... there are many ornament/ decoration posts in my future. Feel free to skip them once you are bored to tears. Hopefully someday my kids will find it interesting.


I am a picture-person. I love taking pictures, looking at pictures, frames, etc. Although, I am very bad at actually getting pictures framed. It is just a step in the process that I find tedious. That leads me to today's ornament. As I was unpacking ornaments yesterday I discovered that I had 3 or 4 frame-ornaments that were still empty. The thought of searching through pictures for a small enough one to fit into my frames was overwhelming, so I got to thinking... what else could I do? I love monograms, so I thought that it would be a good idea to add a monogram to this very pretty frame-ornament. This is how it turned out... I love it!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Christmastime is Here!!!

I am so happy... this is my favorite time of year! After our weekend in Waco, we came home to start decorating for Christmas. Cooper was excited at the very sight of the big tree box! He kept talking about it being a "surprise", he LOVED standing on his "white chair" (step-stool) to help decorate, and in the case that we forgot to... he would say, "Say 'Yea Cooper!'" after every time he helped with the tree.

I love decorating our Christmas tree. Going through our ornaments and reminiscing about when and where we got each one is one of my favorite things to do on earth - really! Our tree is a hodge podge of colors and types of ornaments, and I would not have it any other way. Our ornaments tell the story of our life, in a way. We pick them up on vacations, the kids make new ones each year, we have many that were gifts, some that were homemade by family & friends, and my favorite... the ones that we give each other each year on the night that we decorate the tree. We try to find one that represents each person... something that they enjoy, a sport that they play, a nickname, etc. Someday (If I am able) I will give the kids their ornament collections when they move away. (Just a minute... let me get a tissue to wipe my tears.)

This years ornaments:
Allie's nickname has always been "Allie Cat"... so naturally, she has many cat ornaments. ~

Jack's ornament is a boy playing the guitar since he began taking guitar lessons this year. ~

Cooper is about as crazy about sports as a 2 year old can be. He loves them all. But I think that baseball or "ace ball" as he called it for much of this year might be his favorite. He informs me often that he "has to practice" and last week, he started saying "I got no strike zone!" when he would swing his little bat. He sings Take Me Out To The Ballgame, word for word, so it seemed appropriate to get him a baseball ornament this year. ~

Corey (and his family) love Scrabble. We play it almost every time we are together. So when I saw this Scrabble board, I knew that he must have it. ~

My ornament is actually 3 ornaments :) this year. They are three words... "peace", "hope", and "joy". I love them!

Asher's 1st Birthday Party

Yesterday we celebrated my littlest nephew Asher Case. His birthday is not until later this week, but since we were all together his parents, Sara & Beau, threw him a family birthday party at his Gibbie & Poppie's house.

He is the happiest little thing! One of the highlights of my weekend with family was when Asher got cracked up, and we all laughed at him. He loved the attention, so after that he would intentionally look from person to person in the room and fake-laugh over and over again. (He is his mother's child!) It was the funniest thing to see a little one year old baby do!

Asher's Family

Gibbie & Asher

Jack loves his Claire Bear

The gift that was a hit...
Allie with her Great Granparents

Pooped Poppie

All 6 Cousins

The Selke Six with cousins Alex and Jonathan

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