Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas 2011

We had a overall good Christmas.  We took things slow, didn't over plan our days and just enjoyed not being pulled in all directions.  The kids had different "fun" things to do, via Jeffery our elf.  We decorated cookies, made cookies, went to Monkey Joe's, made rice krispie treats, colored, read books, played at the park, played with new toys, played with old toys, played the wii, the kinect.. just a lot of playing and hopefully memory making.  We did our "new tradition" of family presents.  It went over very well.  The kids enjoyed it and I found them talking to each other about their excitement over what the next present would be.  I know it's something we will do again.  Hopefully, memories were made and in the end that it wasn't about the toys or the different parties or activities that we did.  Hopefully it will be about the time spent as a family.  Having memories to look back on and hold on to for the rest of their lives.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas in Dixie

We just did our "3rd Annual Whirlwind Christmas Trip to Alabama".  I am still tired from it all.  We had 3 different family gatherings.  The kids were spoiled rotten and Kent and I were, too.  I greatly appreciated all the gifts I was given and loved seeing the smiling faces when people opened their gifts from us.  That really is the best part.  Seeing the look on someone's face when they open their gift.

While "home" I got to spend some solo time with my daddy and help him with a few things.  It was nice to be able to do that.  The older I get the more I cherish those times.  I know life can slip away so unexpectedly and it's what you make of it while you have it.  It's always hard going home though.  I know my momma won't be there and we drive right past the cemetery on the way in to town.  The heartbreak is always there, even though this is the 2nd Christmas without her.  It doesn't get easier.. you just adjust.  I guess I said all that to say that no matter the material gifts you may get.. it's the gift of time that should be most treasured.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Traditions

I'm always curious to hear of other people's traditions they partake in during Christmas.  There are so many wonderful ones and it's so neat to see how other families celebrate the season.

Growing up we always had a tradition of the Christmas mouse.  I have no idea how this got started or if it was handed down from a previous generation.  About a week or two before Christmas we would find a gift in our stockings.  It was usually a cardboard candy cane that held about $10 dollars of quarters in it.  And that candy came was green and white (the colors of the bank my momma worked at) and had the name of the bank they came from (again my momma's bank).  You would think we would have put that together a lot sooner... That tradition went on until I married and moved out...although now that I think about it I believe  it did visit once or twice more after I was married.   Another tradition that happened in my house was on Christmas Eve after my brother and I were tucked away in bed, my parents would exchange gifts to each other.  The older I got the more I wanted to sit in and watch.  I finally got to do that I believe the last two Christmases I was at home.  We also did the cookies and milk for Santa but we also left out marshmallows for the reindeer.

Now that I am married and a parent I have tried to carry some traditions on as I've grown my family.  We do the Christmas mouse and my kids always enjoy checking their stockings to see if it's came yet.  It's usually just a small toy, but they loved it just the same.  Kent and I exchange gifts on Christmas Eve just like my parents did.  And yes, marshmallows are still left for the reindeer.

Some new traditions we have made our own over the years are cutting out pictures to make a list for Santa (for those who can't read and write yet), baking a gingerbread man, baking and decorating cookies that the kids leave out for Santa, Jeffery the Elf (he is always up to something!), on Christmas Eve after lunch we exchange gifts from each other (the kids buy each other a gift from the Santa shop at school and Nathan gets two gifts from the Dollar Tree to give to Jon Kent and Zoey), Christmas Eve we go to church and have a sweet and wonderful time with our church family, Kent reads about the birth of Jesus and why we truly celebrate Christmas and then he reads the Night Before Christmas, right before sending the kids to bed we make sure to check to see where Santa is at and then hurry the kids off to bed. The last two Christmases we have spent quietly together.  Since we are in South Carolina and all our family is in Alabama we aren't rushed from here to there.  We enjoy each other, enjoy our new gifts, sit down and eat a feast of a meal together and just enjoy the ease of the day.  I am always so reflective and thankful for my many blessings.

A new tradition we are starting this year is gifts of family time.  This year, 3 nights before Christmas Eve we will open a present.  Inside will be a family activity to do together.  One night the gift will have glow-in-the-dark necklaces, sticks, etc. and we will play hide-and-go seek in the dark.  Another night the gift will be a night of family fun on the XBOX playing the Kinect.  And a third night the gift will be silly string and the kids will be able to have a silly string fight.  I am the most excited about this new tradition.  The gifts the kids get will be played with and enjoyed but eventually forgotten.. but this.. family time and making memories that will be held on to forever.

This is the second Christmas I am having to spend without my momma.  And I feel like last Christmas we were just going through the motions, trying to get through the day to say that we survived.  I enjoyed my time with family, but I was still so raw after the unexpected loss of my momma.  So this year, I want to give the gift of memories so that may kids can remember the traditions and take comfort in them when I am gone.  Prayerfully that won't happen until they are well in their years, but whenever it happens I want them to have the memories to hold on to.  I know it's the gift that keeps on giving from my parents.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Happy 6th Birthday, Zoey!

When Jon Kent was almost 5 months old, I found out I was pregnant again.  It was April Fool's Day 2005.  And what a surprise it was!  Zoey's due date was November 30, 2005.  15 days after her brother was to celebrate his 1st birthday.  But in true girl fashion.. she was late.  She wasn't quite ready to make her beauty known. So for two more days we waited.  When finally she was born on December 2, 2005 at 7:07am.  Weighing 6 pounds, 13oz and 21 inches long.  She was perfect.  10 fingers, 10 toes and a sprinkling of brown hair.  Our family was complete (so we thought).

In 6 years Zoey has been the spice of glitter in this family.  She is a girly girl who likes to build mud castles.  She likes to have her hair fixed and her clothes to be pink.  She likes to wear lipgloss on her lips and dirt on her knees.  She's outgoing, caring, kind, friend to everyone, talkative, curious, loving, sweet and just Zoey.  If you have ever met Zoey you will always remember her.  She just has that sort of effect on people.  How it has already been 6 years I will never know.  But I am thankful for all 6 years that I have had to spend with Zoey and I pray that she has 106 more to come.

Happy Birthday my sweet and beautiful little girl.  I am so proud to call you my daughter and thankful to have you as my sweet and only little girl.  I love you!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Happy 7th Birthday, Jon Kent!

I'm not sure how we got here, but somewhere along the way someone hit the fast forward button.

Seven years ago today, at 5:05pm, Jonathan Kent Owens, Jr. was born.  He weighed a tiny 5 pounds, 8ozs and was 19.5 inches long.  He was our miracle baby.  Our baby that healed our hearts after losing two babies before.  He was tiny, perfect and ours.  I will never forget rubbing my lips across his blonde peach fuzz hair and thinking how blessed I was to be holding this precious baby.

Over the last 7 years there have been many more times that I have held Jon Kent, watched him run, watched him learn, watched him be an amazing big brother and again thought to myself how blessed I am to have him as my baby.

Jon Kent, thank you for being my first baby.  For teaching me unconditional love.  For making me a mommy. I hope that your 7th birthday was all that you dreamed it would be and I pray that you have 107 more birthdays to come!  I love you!!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from my monsters to yours!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Our Disney Vacation Part 4: Wednesday Evening, Thursday and Friday

Wednesday Evening:
So after not getting a really good start at the Magic Kingdom we wanted to go back after naps and see if we could do better.  Thankfully, it was pretty smooth sailing.

That evening since there was going to be the fireworks over the castle, things started clearing out around 7pm.  So we were able to do a lot of stuff during this time.  The kids rode the carousel.  Or really we all did.  Apparently, the older you get the less those things are fun.  I was very dizzy. So, since I wasn't dizzy enough we went to the Mad Tea Party Tea Cups.  If your kids are little, don't show them how to turn the tea cup.  Talk about wanting to throw up.  Anyway, after that my stomach was in awesome shape (not) so we decided to go eat supper and use one of our quick meals.  We went to Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe'.  It was pretty good and you get a lot for your money (if you aren't on the dining plan.. have I not talked enough about that yet?). We then rode  Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. We all rode that, even Nathan.  He was scared the whole time and Jon Kent wasn't thrilled with it either.  But it was a simple enough "roller coaster".  There weren't any drops to it, just a lot of dips and jerks.  It was pretty rough and I had to really hold on to Nathan. Some of the other things we did were Buzz Light Year Space Ranger (very good, but not as good as the one at Hollywood Studios), Monsters Inc., Laugh Floor (this was really funny and we all had a good time.  Plus, it gave us a break and a chance to sit indoors.), Stitches' Great Escape (Jon Kent LOVED this one because he thought he was "leveling up" throughout the "ride".  But it scared Zoey and Nathan senseless.  It was loud, dark, the seats literally hold you down.  And it's scary to not know what is happening right in front of you.  I don't recommend this ride.  I personally hope to never have to sit through it again.) and lastly we ended the night watching the Wishes Nighttime Spectacular (it was really good.  And so neat to see the castle lit up and all the fireworks.).

*My Tip: Bring your own glow sticks.  You can buy a wide variety at a Dollar Tree.  And it was save you a lot of money.  It was crazy what they were asking for at the parks.  Also, bring your own snack.  We brought our own and saved all our snack credits for drinks or fruit cups.  If you aren't on the dining plan, bring your own snack is the way to go.  Otherwise it would cost you about $15 for two drinks and fruit cup.  Insane.

 We spent all day Thursday at Disney's Typhoon Lagoon.  We went thinking we would be there 4 or 5 hours but ended up staying from opening until closing.  We just had that much fun.  The favorite of the day would have to be swimming with the sharks.  That was right up Kent's alley and Zoey loved it as well.  Jon Kent got to the water and then said, "He got to thinking about it and thought he didn't really want to do it."  I did it once with Zoey and it really was a good time.  The water was very cold (like 68 degrees or less).  So that immediately took my breath away but it was very cool swimming with all the fish.  The kids rode all the rides that they could.  There was a few they couldn't because they weren't tall enough, but otherwise they really were brave at trying new things.  It was a really fun day!

Thursday Evening
We went back to Epcot but it was mainly because we put Nathan in "taller shoes" so he could ride some of the rides that he was just a hair too short to ride on when he had on his sandals.  So he got to ride the Test Track and Soarin'.  He was not at all thrilled with the Test Track ride as you will be able to see in the picture. He did however LOVE the Soarin' ride.  He wanted to ride it over and over again.  I wouldn't mind riding it again myself.. I can still smell the orange trees and the beach.

We hit up The Magic Kingdom just one more time to ride a few rides that we weren't able to get to.  The main ride being Splash Mountain. Zoey and Kent were the only ones to ride this one.  The boys didn't want to ride.  They aren't my adventurous ones, that is for sure.We also did the Haunted Mansion.  The kids at first were scared, but once they saw that it was more funny than scary they like it. After that we started looking around for the princesses and found Snow White tucked away in her garden.  Zoey was thrilled.  Then we asked around and found out that all the princesses were at the Town Square Theater.  Zoey was so excited to meet all the princesses.  Even Nathan was a prince charming to a few.  Jon Kent.. eh, girls are gross to him. We were able to get a picture with all the princesses.. and bonus, it was inside.  Whew!  We then walked around, had some funnel cakes and on the way out caught the parade.  It was sad to see the week end.  But we packed a lot of memories into that one week and I really look forward to going back to Disney one day when all the kids are a bit older.  We did have one last thing to do before our day was through and our vacation was over and that was to eat at Boma Flavors of Africa.  I wasn't looking forward to it because I am not one to like different cultures' foods.  But it was really good and if we ever go back to Disney it will be a place that we return to.  It really was that yummy!

And with that our time was at Disney was over.  It was a great week and I imagine it will be something we do again and again and will even look forward to doing with our grandchildren.