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Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Cold Crafternoon

After a blistering cold morning of playing in the snow I planned a few quick, simple crafts with the kids while McKenna napped.
We started by printing this cute reindeer template my friend posted on her blog onto card stock, then added modge podge with a fine tip paintbrush before adding a generous amount of gold or bronze glitter. 
Please let me know if you'd like the template as I'm happy to share it with you or send you to the original link.
The kids then glued red and white pom poms onto card stock candy cane forms. We also added fun washi tape stripes onto more candy canes, punched a hole, added ribbon and had a couple fun new kid friendly, mom approved tree ornaments. We ended our crafternoon by making coffee filter snowflakes. All super cheap and fool proof crafts that kept the kids busy for a couple of hours.
I found it cute that both kids gravitated away from the table momentarily only to return with her respective holiday hats on.

Friday, December 28, 2012

The First Snowfall of Winter

The first day of winter break brought with it our first winter snow "storm." The kids went to bed in anticipation of the snowfall and woke up early {ier than the normal time} to a white covered ground. They were beside themselves with excitement ready to dart outdoors to romp around in it. I had to suppress their excitement for several hours because the winds had been blowing at up to 50mph. Late morning they bundled up in last years whatever snow gear they could gather in a moments time and headed out back.
It was pure bliss for them! They lasted much longer than I would have out in the cold. We only had one episode of crying too (which is monumental at times) when Dawson came in briefly because his hands were freezing. Poor little dude didn't have any snow gloves that fit. GG fixed that problem by picking him up a new pair while out at WalMart.
I enticed them indoors after quite some time with some marshmallow filled hot cocoa. It was baby girl's 1st cup of ho cho and it is safe to say she LOVED it. 
Prec' or what?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

It's the Little Things

Gabrielle is a doodler, a drawer and aspiring author so it was fitting that she received a new little journal and fun pen in her stocking from Papa & Mema. She brought it on our recent trip to Springfield to keep her busy during the drive. I found these little gems as I was cleaning out the van.

It's truly the little things like this that can rekindle a love for my kids when all chaos is ensuing with the break from school, schedules and regular sleep patterns. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Santa's Wonderland

Christmas isn't Christmas without our annual visit to Santa's Wonderland. We paid a visit to the Springfield Bass Pro Shops on Saturday. The kids got to make an adorable button Santa ornament (I may have made one myself, they were so cute) while Daddy waited in line for our turn.
I was so impressed because Santa was SO, SO wonderful with the kids. As you can see in the above photo, McKenna wasn't having any part of sitting on his lap. It was more Stranger Danger than Jolly Old Saint Nick for her. She quickly squirmed her way out of his arms and into her Daddy's. Santa then encouraged me to snap a couple of photos with he and the older two. As we gathered the kids to part ways, he pulled Travis over and positioned the kids with us in the photo then proceeded to take more time asking the kids their wish list. I thanked him and told him he had just earned Best Santa Ever rights in my book.
Merry Christmas Eve to all! 
"Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."
Last years Santa post and equally hilarious photo here

Meadow Lane Pancake Breakfast & Holiday Shop

We started our morning Saturday, December 1st bright and early at the Meadow Lane Pancake Breakfast and Holiday Shop. We indulged on plates stacked with yummy pancakes and way too sweet knock off orange juice (Tang perhaps?) before Gabrielle and the rest of the ML 2nd & 3rd graders took stage to sing a few Christmas carols.
After the singing we corralled the kids for a couple of quick pictures.
Travis was snapping pictures simultaneously with his iPhone hence why the kids aren't looking in my direction in this photo.
And then throw #3 in the mix along with a super silly Papa who is an expert at getting her to smile and you get a few cute pictures of our baby girl being C to the U to the T to the E! 
We hit the Holiday Shoppe in the gymnasium before Santa arrived for his visit. 
Gabi choose a pretty necklace and a bear claw back scratcher, Dawson choose a sleeve of sports themed golf balls and both picked out a Best Grandpa fish coffee mug for Papa for Christmas.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Icing & Sprinkles & Candy, Oh My!

Christmas wouldn't be the same without Mema's delicious cut out cookies. She prepared the dough, cut out and baked the cookies (because the kidaroos haven't been 100% in the health department). She came up last Friday and the frosting and decorating commenced. The "bigs" both took part in the mixing up of frosting, spreading it on (Gabrielle ever so meticulously and Dawson in slap happy fashion) & adding the finishing touches of sprinkles, Nerds candy, mini chocolate chips, etc.

McKenna was present throughout the process and was under foot the.entire.time! We tried our very best to entice her with cookies, but once the frosting touched her hands she immediately dropped them. Have I mentioned that my kids have a moderate severe case of OCD with hand washing? We resorted to keeping her busy with a yogurt cup & licking spoons.  She snuck in plenty of snuggles and lovin' from Mema throughout the night too :)
It is now Thursday and dozens and dozens of cookies have been consumed. I admit I have had more than my fair share! Ummm, the majority truth be told. My midsection will not be thanking me come January.

Embrace The Camera: December 19, 2012

The kids are Embracing the Camera with Papa & Mema
Photos above taken at the Holiday Shoppe and pancake breakfast at Meadow Lane
Photo taken during our annual cookie decorating

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Gabrielle had a school assignment which involved making a list of what happens when she spends time with her family and/or relatives. Her list included: Share our love; Hugs & Kisses; play games; have lots of FUN; play on the computer; & go on walks. Her 2nd assignment was to think about a time you are together with your relatives using her senses to recall memories. She was given the following prompts:
I see ... my brother outside
I smell ... a sencie burning (Scentsy wax burner)
I hear ... laghter and kissing noises (melt my heart)
I taste ... spagettie
I feel ... my grandma's clothes (she said "You know, Mema's clothes when we snuggle all the time)
{Gabi's phonetical  spelling of the words sencie, laghter & spagettie}

Dawson's art project from preschool was an adorable turkey that said "I am thankful for My Mom & Dad"
Photo taken Sunday November 18th while dining at Applebees
This Thanksgiving I am thankful for:
  • My MIL's contribution to our Thanksgiving meal and all the additional help she provided during her stay while I was under the weather
  • Black Friday shopping from home in my comfy clothes
  • An unexpected blessing from my brother and sister-in-law in Alabama
  • Costco's amazing pumpkin pie paired with Cool Whip
  • Our 3 beautiful children with their obnoxious playful behavior and all 
  • Beautiful Fall weather which has permitted the above aforementioned hooligan's to play many hours outdoors using their expansive creative imaginations to entertain themselves
  • The current topic sessions in my daily devotional readings which have been very enlightening, inspirational and impactful
  • Chick-fil-A Peppermint Chocolate Chip Milkshakes 
  • Hubs putting up the Christmas tree & outdoor lights while the girls (GG, Mema & I) went shopping
  • Our little people decorating the tree solo and doing a bang up job doing so - I mean this in the sense that they did indeed do a great job but also in the sense that they broke several ornaments in the process :(
We hosted Thanksgiving dinner here at our home. We enjoyed the traditional feast of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, cranberry sauce, dinner rolls, Iowa corn, Snicker salad and pumpkin pie for dessert. It was delic'! The rest of the day entailed Christmas decorating and restfulness.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Hicks Halloween

What is there to say really?
 3 kids + 
A family friendly neighborhood + 
 Trick or Treating = 
Lots of Candy!
This year my uber fun loving, shopaholic, creative sole friend Holly styled our kiddos. 
In other words, we recycled her kids costumes from last year and BAM our kids instantly became the stinkin' cutest Jedi, Princess Leia & Yoda. 
Her talented mother-in-law sewed these costumes. 
{Holly informed me that Gabrielle wore the Princess Leia costume backwards. Oops! }
The weather was PERFECT! The Lankford's and the Rigdon's joined us in our hood for pizza & trick or treating. McKenna amazed us by wearing her costume, including the hat, the entire night. She was such a spit fire to watch. She was determined to keep up with the bigs and would scurry herself up to the entryway, cautiously crawling up the steps and would then thrust her hand out for a piece (or several) of candy. She would do this several houses in a row and would then resort to crawling back into the wagon to unwrap a sweet treat and indulge. Stinker. 
She was too.darn.cute! 
We did miss several traditions this year which were somewhat of a bummer. Due to Travis's work schedule combined with uncooperative weather temps, we didn't make it to the pumpkin patch. We have also attended the Twaddell's annual Halloween party the last several years and they chose not to host this year with plans to have a huge one next Halloween. 
This year did bring several new traditions that were fun and we will look forward to in future years. Travis and the kids planted pumpkin seeds in the summer and our backyard turned into a mini pumpkin patch of our own. It looked like a jungle really, but did in fact produce some nice pumpkins! We also carved two large pumpkins with the kids. More on that in the following post.

Monday, November 5, 2012

D Man!

This little dude had school pictures taken last week so I snapped a handful myself before he headed out on the bus. Can you tell he isn't a fan of the sun?
Little man started expressing interest in learning how to read thanks to his friend Brandon who was a very early reader. We introduced him to some early readers and over the course of a couple of days he was comfortable reading several of them. It has been so rewarding seeing him advance in his word recognition.
Dawson's current loves include: Legos, Tom & Jerry cartoons & his Nintendo DSI. He will sit content for looooong periods of time engrossed in playing his DS if we allow it. Too bad it couldn't magically teach him to read, write, encourage his weekly scripture memorization, etc. Wouldn't that be a beautiful thing?!

Friday, November 2, 2012

21 Months

My Sweet Sunshine,
You are 21 months old now and a ball of fun and energy.
Some of your favorite words are:
Mo peez for more please
Mitah here? 
Soapie for Sophie
Mommy, where are you?
Bye, see ya!
Uh Oh, Drop it!
Shoes on
Bubboh Bafh

* You count 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9
* You aren't too interested in singing the ABC's but will sing A, B, C and you never miss a beat by interjecting W
* You are obsessed with carrying around my iPhone with iTunes blaring. The funniest thing about this is all I have on my phone is a random mix of some country Christmas music. You shove the phone at me after each song and fuss until the next song begins to play. 
* You love to help with the laundry, unload the dishwasher & draw masterpieces on Sissy's homework (it never fails you scribble on the assignment that has to be turned in).
* You have come to LOVE wrestling with Bubby. There really is no better sound then the two of you giggling and loving on one another.
* You got "sick" with the tummy bug this month. Nine straight days of diarrhea equalled many, many a diaper change, more than the normal frequent baths, and lots of bootie doo. You also threw up for the first time on the way to meet GG in Clinton, MO for brunch.
* It has just been within the past week, give or take, that you began to sit for a few minutes and watch TV - a cartoon or dancing while watching Dancing With The Stars.
* Unlike your older siblings you don't have the vocabulary or show signs of interest to potty train. I'm OK with this - your Daddy is a bit more anxious to get the process rolling. I did get a little "soft" as I was organizing some tubs in the basement and pulled out Sissy's first panties. I may have squealed a little at the cuteness of their tiny size.
* If there is a way to exit the house (i.e. the garage door gets left opened, the front door is unlocked or the back sliding door is open with the screen closed) you are G.O.N.E.! There is no containing you. You, my child, are a lover of the outdoors and have no limits or fears.
* You inherited your Mema and Mommy's sweet tooth. I pray you don't also inherit our dental history as well. 
* You are NOT a fan of getting your finger nails or toe nails clipped. I find it comical wrangling you as you contort yourself and scream "No!" Really it is anything BUT funny as I break out in a sweat of nerves, but I have to laugh as I hear myself say "I WILL win this battle" and then the second I am done you jump down from my lap and run away in glee as if YOU won. Stinker!
Your big blue eyes slay us. You can be a complete stinker and then flash us those baby blues and I just crumble. You are our sunshine, our littlest love, the final piece to our family puzzle. You are loved more than imaginable! Smooches my sweet McKenna Jane.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Fall Preschool Field Trip

Friday October 5, 2012
I joined Dawson and his afternoon preschool class on their Fall field trip to the KC Pumpkin Patch in Gardner. It was a very chilly afternoon which had its advantages and disadvantages. The main advantage being we virtually had the entire pumpkin patch to ourselves which made for no lines or waiting turns on the attractions such as the slides, train, bounce bag, etc.
Jonah, Kai, Dawson & Connor
Picking the perfect pumpkin
The choices can be a tad overwhelming!
Dawson has the cold face grimace in this picture. If you look closely you can also see that his poor little hands are red from the cold. Next time I will go better prepared with a stocking hat and gloves.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Pictures, Park, Dogs & S'mores

Last Friday was the epitome of perfect Fall weather. The trees were in full splendor of color, there was a gentle breeze and a crispness to the air. It was a bit cool & overcast but beautiful just the same. Our new friends from church flattered me by asking me to take pictures of their two young girls so we packed up and headed to a park nearby their home for some photos and frolicking.While there and with the camera in tow (it's a rare occasion that the camera leaves its resting place in the kitchen cabinet) I snapped a handful of the "bigs."
I would have benefited greatly from shooting with a larger aperture to capture the blazing orange leaves in the background in this image. They truly were glorious.
Little man is becoming a bit more open to having his picture taken. I will miss this babyish smile.
This was Dawson's look as he recalled he had left his hat at the playground area. He wasn't too thrilled when I asked him to return to retrieve it. Both Gabrielle and McKenna have beautiful blues eyes and D inherited his Daddy and my deep hazel eyes. I am also fond of this image because it shows Dawson's "birthmark" ear, trademarked by his Uncle Brett.
Gabrielle and Adyson - fast new friends
After pictures and playtime at the park we enjoyed hot dogs, chili and all the fixins fireside in the Lankford's backyard. To cap off the night we made ooey gooey s'mores with campfire marshmallows. Have you seen these monstrous marshmallows on the store shelves? I suggest sticking to the traditional sized as the campfire don't melt easily and ooze out of the graham crackers. Still yummy and worth indulging in seconds!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Louisburg Cider Fest

Last Sunday we played hooky from church and headed South to Louisburg Cider Fest at the Louisburg Cider Mill.
It was a beautiful crisp morning of bounce house fun {not pictured}
Pony rides
Gabi is riding Boomer
Gabrielle loved that each pony had its mane in pony tails and its tail braided
We failed to learn the name of Dawson's horse
What is a visit to the Cider Mill without donuts and cider?
It took McKenna a few minutes to decide to eat her donut. She doesn't like to get her hands dirty. OCD much? But when she did take her first bite, she inhaled it!
We browsed the vendor booths, took a quick gander at how the cider is made, played on the hay and with the pumpkins and then our fun outing was cut short. Little miss decided mid day was a good time to let a little tummy bug settle in. I failed to grab the travel diaper bag out of the van so I scrambled to ask a complete stranger to bum a diaper and wipes to get her cleaned up only for her to immediately fill her pants again so we made a mad dash back to the van. It is now Saturday (6 days later) and she is still dealing with diarrhea. The pediatrician said it can last up to a couple weeks. What?! She is getting {more than normal} frequent baths, lots of bootie lube and her fair share of probiotics. 
Although the Festival was super congested, we didn't allow it to hinder us from enjoying a fun outing with friends!