Friday, December 28, 2012

Ben's Hutch Friends

We had to make a quick trip to Hutchinson for Ben, Abby and Luke to go to the dentist.  Ben asked if it would be possible to see his buddies while we were there.  It's hard to say no to him, since every time we go up there, I get to go to lunch with my friend, Athena.  I told Ben that if his friends could meet for lunch, then he could see them.  Thankfully it worked out!

These boys have been friends for such a long time and I am always happy to see them together! It is so amazing to see the you men that they have become!  I am so happy that after moving away four and a half years ago, that they are still friends and look forward to seeing each other anytime they can!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Day 2012

There's not a whole lot to say about Christmas at our house this year.  It was a very low key day.  We spent the entire day in our jammies.  I think Jesus would approve of us spending his birthday relaxing and being a family.  The pictures can speak for themselves.

We started things off reading about Jesus's birth.

Doesn't Luke look thrilled?  He woke up with a nasty cough and feeling pretty crummy.

Of course, the kids couldn't wait to open their presents.  Well...except Luke.  Yes, Luke!  He was feeling so crummy that he actually said, "I'm too exhausted to open presents!"  Seriously!  That was the first time I've ever heard anything like that on Christmas morning, and I imagine it will be the last!  Anyway, the kids were all thrilled with there new goodies!

We had our traditional waffle breakfast.

And a delicious roast beef dinner.

It was kind of nice to be able to stay at home and relax for the day.  Although, I would trade it in a heartbeat to be able to be with family and have all of the kids together!  We will get to go see most of my family in a few days and celebrate Christmas with all of them! I can't wait!


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Eve

 Since Jon's birthday is on Christmas Eve, it is always his choice as to whether or not we go to the Christmas Eve service at church.  This year he opted for us to go.  I'm so glad we went! The Christmas Eve service is a low key family time where, after all of the hustle and bustle, we can come together and make sure our focus is where it needs to be.  It is a time of singing, reflecting and celebrating the birth of our Saviour.  It was so sweet to have Luke in there with us and listening to him sing "Go Tell It On The Mountain"!  It doesn't get much better than that!

Since we were all dressed decent, I demanded some pictures in front of the tree.  Our plan for Christmas day was to stay in our jammies all day, so I knew a picture wasn't going to happen then.

Several years ago a tradition began.  It never failed that the kids were begging to open "just one" Christmas present before Christmas morning.  I finally broke down and let them, but I got to choose which one they got to open.  The gift that they got to open on Christmas Eve, from then on, has always been new Christmas jammies.  I love that they have special Christmas jammies for Christmas morning.  It looks great for pictures!  (:  

Sadly, a few years ago, Ben and Abby figured out that the gift is the same every year.  I tried to deny it, but...they were on to me.

This year, I wrapped the Christmas jammies in boxes that would not give away the shape of what was inside.  Abby was disappointed that I didn't do jammies this year when she saw the size and shape of her gift box.  She was pleased when she saw what her box contained!

All ready to be tucked into bed and try to sleep through their excitement of what awaits them on Christmas morning!

Happy Birthday, Jon!

As if Christmas time isn't busy enough, we have Jon's birthday to celebrate.  (I love that we are finally the same age again!  For the six months, anyway.)  And since Christmas birthday's tend to get jumbled in with Christmas, I have always tried to separate the two.

The day started out with gifts!  What could be better, right?

I asked Jon if he would like me to cook a special birthday dinner or if he would like to go out.  That crazy guy would always rather eat at home.  Not only did he want to eat at home, he wanted to do the cooking!  (You will never catch me making that choice for my birthday!) 
Those fajitas smelled fantastic on a cold, crisp day!

 The whole meal was delicious!

 Jon's favorite birthday "cake" isn't cake at all.  Chocolate pie!

Happy birthday, Jon!
I hope you had a great special day!  I am so thankful for you and all that you do for our family!  You are a great husband and dad!  I love you!!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Luke's Christmas Sing-A-Long

It's finally Luke's turn to have a school program!  What could be cuter than a bunch of 3 and 4 year olds singing Christmas songs?  I was super excited to see Luke on stage and see how he would handle it.

Well...I guess you can see that he really wasn't shy.

The quality of these videos is lacking a little bit, but you still get the idea.

I love it!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tuba Christmas

 No, Ben hasn't switched instruments.  He is still a devoted trombone player.  However, there is one time of year when he ventures into the world of the euphonium/baritone.  He really wants to be able to participate in Tuba Christmas, so he borrows an instrument from the school and practices his heart out for this one day.  It is very impressive to me that he is able to figure it out!  He participated last year too, but he felt much more prepared this year.

Tuba Christmas, in Bartlesville, is performed outside on the lawn of the Frank Philips home with as many tuba, euphonium and baritone players as are willing to participate.  I believe there were nearly 40 of them this year. 


 I am so proud of this talented boy!!

 Abby enjoyed some hot cider after the performance.

Luke was happy to see Santa and Mrs. Claus.

I know Ben is already looking forward to next year's Tuba Christmas!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner!!

Sooo...remember the iDate challenge that Jon and I participated in?  (I wrote about it here, here and here.)  And remember that I mentioned that there was going to be a grand prize drawing at the end of the challenge?




What did we win?  We won a $50 gift card to Frank & Lola's, two movie tickets, and a night's stay at The Inn at Price Tower!  I am still in shock that we won!  Jon and I are looking forward to a super spectacular date in our very near future!!

Thank you, Jon, for the great dates!  I am always happy to go on a date with you, even if not for a great prize!  (:

Thank you, Grace Community Church for such a fun challenge and phenomenal prize! 

Christmas Picture Photo Shoot

 I have high hopes every year to get family pictures taken.  I think it has happened once.  As it was getting down to the wire, I asked my friend, Heather (who is not a photographer), if she would be willing to snap a few simple pictures for me.  All I wanted was one picture that I could use for Christmas cards.  She was more than happy to do it!
 Getting five people to all look at the same thing, in the same direction at the same time is quite a feat...  These pictures make me laugh.

I was so excited when we got home and looked at what we had to work with.  We managed to get some great pictures!  I LOVE them!  I am going to save the one that I chose to use for our Christmas card to post later, but here are a few of my favorites.

Aren't they awesome?!
I LOVE them!

Thank you, SO much, Heather for helping us out!  What would I do without you?!

All-City Christmas Concert

The All-City Christmas concert is one of my favorite concerts of the year!  I love that all of the schools come together in one place and perform by grade level and then all together.  I look forward to this concert every year.  This year, it was nice to have both Ben and Abby performing at the same concert.

 Don't they look great!  They actually look like they might kind of like each other...

7th grade bands from both Madison and Central.

High school bands from the Mid-High and High School.
These kids were so happy to get to play together again for the first time since marching season.

I could listen to these groups perform all night!  I am such a proud momma!

Unfortunately, the video of all of the students playing together has some issues.  I can't even describe how cool it was to listen to ALL of the kids play together!  I get chills every time!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

And It's Up!

 I'm still not feeling the Christmas spirit and I still didn't feel like decorating the tree.  With my foot in the state that it is in and the height of the tree, I wasn't able to get the lights on the tree.  Thankfully Ben is tall!  He did a fantastic job putting the lights on! I would love to say that it was a fun, family night of decorating the tree together, but it just didn't turn out that way.  The kiddos did the lions share of the ornament hanging.

 They did a super job!

 Luke lost interest in actually hanging the ornaments and became much more interested in playing with them.

But the job got done!

And I think it looks great!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas Tree Hunting

I am really not in the Christmas spirit.  I'm not sure what it is, but I think the spring-like temperatures could have something to do with it.  As we were headed to go get our Christmas tree, the car thermometer showed that it was 71 degrees outside!  For this girl, having grown up in Michigan, that's just plain wrong!

Everyone was dressed for the weather in t-shirts, flip flops...

and even shorts!  Strange!!

Silly people!

The Grief men all had to help!  Luke wasn't going to be ok without helping!

Aren't they manly?!

It's going to be a few days until the tree gets decorated since the branches have a lot of falling into place to do.

Monday, November 26, 2012

iDate #3

After two not-so-great dates, we opted for something much less organized.  This time, we took our list of questions and headed to McAlister's.  We love McAlister's because it isn't loud and chaotic.  It is a great place to have a conversation. And of course, they have fantastic tea and cookies!  It didn't hurt that we had a coupon for free food!  :)  We also caught a movie at the $2 theater and then warmed up with some hot chocolate.  Perfect!

Unfortunately, I threw away my date cards before doing this blog post, so I don't have the questions to post.  The questions this time were all about the future.  It was nice to talk about the things that we would like to do as a couple and as a family.

Jon and I, both, thoroughly enjoyed the iDate challenge!  It was fun to have Jon plan dates, be able to talk and spend time out without the kids.  We really make an effort to get out and go on dates fairly regularly.  It is so much easier since Ben and Abby are old enough to stay home with Luke!  At one time in our lives we rarely ever got out by ourselves.  Ugh...those were some rough times!  Thankfully it was only for a season and we are where we are now!

Now we just have to cross our fingers and hope we won the big grand prize!  We will find out soon!


Not living near any of our families definitely has some disadvantages.  One of which is that it makes getting together for holidays much more difficult.  Yes, it makes the times together that much more fun and special, but it takes a lot more planning.  This past year Jon's side of the family all moved to Louisiana.  Instead of either group traveling so far, we opted to meet halfway in Texarkana, Texas.  It is a little bit unconventional to spend Thanksgiving at a hotel and eat at a restaurant, but that's not what Thanksgiving is about anyway!  It was nice for everyone to be together!

I made some yummy treats to enjoy while hanging out at the hotel.  They were delicious, if I may say so myself.

(I made individual trifles in mason jars.  Death By Chocolate and a pumpkin spice trifle.)

Thanksgiving wouldn't be complete without watching the Lions lose some Lions football!

We played lots of games together which meant there was a lot of laughter!

Luke wasn't much into playing games, but he was all about getting to go swimming!

Thanksgiving dinner was served at Cracker Barrel.  The wait was long,
but it was fun to watch the kids play together and just sit out on the porch and enjoy each other and the beautiful day that it was!
I couldn't resist taking a picture of my breakfast.  I have a lot of Texan friends that I thought would appreciate this!

Luke loved playing with Toby during our visit!

Look at these two little monkeys!

(Unfortunately, I didn't get any group pictures.)

We had a really great time visiting with all of the Grief's!  I'm so glad we were all able to get together!

What am I thankful for this year?  I am thankful for so much!  I am SO blessed!!  I am thankful to serve a God that loves me no matter what.  I am thankful to have a husband that loves me and takes care of me and our family.  I am thankful for my three healthy, active children. I am thankful that I am able to be a stay at home mom.  I am thankful that my foot is on the road to recovery.  I could go on and on, but let's just say, I AM BLESSED!!