Christmas Decor

We brought the Christmas decor out on Friday- and the Bug had a ball helping! 'Tis the Season for wearing your toddler out in the front yard! :)

Daddy putting the lights up on the roof.

Mommy hanging oversized ornaments from our midget trees!

Here Baby Penguin, let me adjust your scarf.
You look cold! Let me give you a warm hug.
I love when Penguins stand in my front yard!!
Flailing arms and crooked beaks.
Having a grand ole time!
Prissy Penguin Pants.
Final product on display.
Penguins up close at night.
Joy to the World!


Full of Thanks

I'm thankful for: my calm, patient husband and irresistable daughter. Ada's intelligence, personality, health and well-being. My entire crazy, hilarious, wonderful family. My dear friends that love and accept my kookiness. My health, safety, and happiness; my freedom. My family and friends' health, safety, and happiness; their freedom. My warm home and enjoyable job; and most of my co-workers. ;) Tigerland Daycare and all of its employees. Most of all, I'm very thankful for Jesus and all He's done for us- so now let's celebrate Christmas! :)

We went to MiMi's Wednesday night for an "unconventional Thanksgiving"- where we ate dinner, painted pottery, then pigged out on pie. Thursday lunch was Gram's; Thursday dinner was The Dowell's. We were gluttons this year! Here are a few pictures:
Taking her job of helping MiMi paint her coffeee cup VERY seriously.
The Girls.
Lovin' on my Buggin.
(stolen from Andi)
Daddy and Ada doing their thing.
(also stolen from Andi!)
Ada and Grams! They have a special bond- probably because Grams was there quite a bit Ada's first year on days when I couldn't take off to be home with a sick bug!
Ice Cream Cone; Pine Cone. Potato, Potata.
Ada and Grandpa "Silly Billy" Dowell!! I wish I'd have gotten better pictures at our 3rd Thanksgiving meal! I will be sure to be camera crazy at The Dowell Christmas...
And then today we got the house all Christmas'ed Up! I have some great pictures; I'll blog about that soon!


Pernicious Photographers

First of all, let me begin this post by wishing everyone a HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!! I will post an official "Thanksgiving Blog" soon; but we haven't completed our rounds yet to all of the delicious feasts and family get togethers; so I'm going to hold off until I've got it all documented.
However, I do want to show you a few of Ada's school pictures from daycare. We have yet to see a "good" one, because Ada DESPISES the photographer they use!!! Every picture day they have to attempt Ada's shot multiple times- and we're not talking multiple pictures. We're talking multiple trips to and from the baby room to the set!
I am getting to where I anxiously await the day the pictures arrive at school; not to see how adorable my little pumpkin looks- but to see the ridiculous expressions on her face. They range from sheer terror, to exasperation, to contempt for the Kandid Kids photographer. The thing that absolutely melts my heart is that by the end of the whole fiasco, she is *usually* able to squeeze in a hint of a smile while they snap away. Here are the three they have taken so far:

This is Ada at 7 months old. This was the 3rd trip to the photography set, and the only reason her hysteria diminished was because all but one of the infant ladies was behind the photographer acting like fools.

12 months old- she cried incessantly. Finally she ran out of tears and sqeaked out a "smile." However- if you click on the picture to see it larger, you can see the hint of a tear on her cheek. So pathetic!

This was the most recent torturous photo shoot for The Bug (a couple of weeks ago). You can see in her expression she has recognized the photographer, and has declared war. "You will no longer get a rise out of me, you evil camera man. Nor will I indulge you and smile."
Aside from the photographer- there is only one other common factor among all of these school pictures. The large headband and bow. I hate to say it; but I am hoping that the fiascos are rooted in her despise for the photographer; not the bow. We've got a while before there is enough hair on that head for other means of accessories!!


Another Boring Weekend

Well, it's the weekend before Thanksgiving; and it was a rather uneventful one! Which is fine by us; we've got a crazy (but exciting) few weeks ahead of us. Lots of family to see, shopping to do, birthday parties to attend, Holiday gatherings to enjoy, and Christmas decorating to do!
Last week we got an email in Katy ISD that we could receive a 23% discount on our Sprint phone plans- so Casey and I went in to a retail store yesterday to see what the deal-i-o was. While we were there; I fell in L-O-V-E with the new Palm Pixi. After 2 hours, many strings pulled by the Sales Girl to allow an early upgrade, a bored and curious little girl, and a VERY patient husband- my early birthday present is mine! ALL MINE! I felt extrememly guilty, spoiled, bratty, etc- but nonetheless I'm SO in love with it- it's by far the coolest phone I've ever had! (I usually just go for next-to-free phone that comes with the plan; bare minimum accessories, etc- so I'm having a blast with this techy thing! Now I understand my Aunt Andi's obssession is with gadgets.) My new Pixi is definitely one thing I'm very Thankful for this Thanksgiving Week. But even more importantly: my loving, patient, understanding, happy family! Here's what the Pixi looks like:

Then, in order to show our appreciation for the Tigerland Daycare Ladies and Casey's office staff, I made the most delectable Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars ever tasted by man. You can find the recipe here: www.marthastewart.com/recipe/pumpkin-chocolate-chip-squares. I am so thankful that I can drop Ada off at daycare everyday, knowing that she is happy, cared for, loved, and able to freely express her quirky personality! They love her so much there, and that's all a Momma needs! Here's a picture of the bars:




So, I've been successfully avoiding picking up "Twilight" for several years now. Trust me, the impulse was there- you can't help but hear all about the Twilight Craze and Vampire Obsessions that are surrounding this series. I have an extremely addictive personality; and my most hindering addiction is literature! I do NOT have time to be consumed by compulsive reading- late nights, procrastinated work, abandoning Ada- these are all things I've been trying to save myself (and my family) from. But, low and behold, Aunt Kendra lent me the first and original Twilight book on Friday night. I picked it up last night- and began my self-fulfilling prophecy. I'm officially hooked! Just thought I'd get my nose out of the book to share this...


Casey the Handy Man

So, we've lived in the Redbud Terrace house for a little over a year now- and we have a list of upgrades we want to make to it before we move on (which is probably 100 years away!). We want a pergola, hardwood floors (OK, laminate), better landscaping- especially in the backyard, and it needs new interior paint pretty desperately (that will probably happen after kid(s) are much older!) We (meaning Casey) tackled a big project last weekend- he painted the door black, put in a peephole, replaced the doorbell, replaced the entire door handle, knob, and lock, and put up black shutters!!! It looks SO wonderful, and I'm so proud of him!!! It was a more labor intensive job than we initially expected- and he was so meticulous to make sure it all turned out perfectly.
Here is a "before" picture of the house. We had just tidied up the front yard landscaping this past Spring:

And here are the after pictures!!! Doesn't it look more polished, now?
(The landscaping now looks a little shabby; but we'll get that taken care of soon!)

I love it; and can't wait for him to tackle the next DIY project! :) Pergola, here we come!!!!!

The Weeknight Chronicles

Well, not much to report around here for the past week. Friday night we went to Aunt Kendra's house to celebrate Grandma's (Sandra!) 35th birthday. ;) Much to everyone's disappointment, Ada stayed home with MiMi- at this point in our lives, it is virtually impossible to take Ada ANYWHERE that is not bolted up and cushioned like an insane asylum. I honestly believe Ada is the most curious, interested, fast-paced, busiest 13 month old E-V-E-R. (I'm sure every mother of a toddler will say the same thing. It's a fact of life, I suppose!) Anyway, our house is not only a safe-haven for Ada, but for my sanity as well. (I'm already having mini-panic attacks just thinking about the Holidays. Although I consider myself an optimist- I also have a realist side and I am envisioning the headache, exhaustion, and frustration of staying on top of my little toot!)
Then Saturday we ventured to the Katy playoff game against Stratford- it was a blowout, of course. On to the 2nd round! Ada had a blast- she *loved* the mascot (a Tiger with a bow and big eyelashes!), and waved to her the entire time (I have Kelli in class- she waved back the entire time, too- My goal is to find a good opportunity to get a cute picture of the two together at some point). She also clapped along with the cheerleaders (who also spent a chunk of time waving to Ada- when they weren't trying to find people they knew in the crowd), and conducted the band whenever they would play a tune. We had to leave at half-time because Ada was over sitting still for an hour; and the score was 35-7. Katy won; but I don't know the final score. But I do know there was a cutie-patootie in the stands cheering on her future Alma Mater:

Since there are no other exciting things to fill you in on for the week; I thought I'd let you in on our weeknight routine! (Doesn't THAT sound enthralling!?) Last year, every day, we'd come home from school, take our baths/showers, get in our comfies (that's Mobley for comfortable clothes to lounge around the house in), then snuggle, watch a recorded Oprah, and read baby books the rest of the afternoon. That no longer flies with my extremely active Bug.... Here are some pictures of how we roll, now!

Immediately when we get home, Ada has her after school snack while I clean out our lunch boxes and then pack our necessities for the next day. (Can I just say how much I'm enjoying NOT having a pump to clean, re-assemble, and bottles to make anymore? I still can't get over how much time that took!) Ada typically has some sort of cracker (animal, graham, cheddar, you name it!), an easy fruit (bananas and avacados are her faves), and a glass of milk that ends up on her tray, hair, and the floor. Rarely makes it down her throat....

Immediately upon getting our chores done, we hurry up and change into our comfies. That is something that will never change! I also usually have a Route 44 Unsweet Tea with Extra Ice from Sonic Happy Hour. Not usually. Always. (Recognize my shirt, Katy!?)

Then, it's P-L-A-Y-T-I-M-E!!! And of the hundreds of fantastic, high tech, stimulating toys that inhabit the dining room- Ada relentlessly chooses the Tuppeware as her toy of choice. It is the one cabinet we left without baby locks- And Ada takes full advantage of that. Here she is making sure she hasn't missed one item!

I hope I don't accidentally use her as a container one day!

Tupperware can always be worn as hats and helmets. I've also witnessed them transform into a drum, a chair, a vehicle, a ball to throw, and once even a left shoe. Obviously, it is the perfect toy- someone should be making millions off of this.

Then, it is dinner time. We try to eat as a family; but sometimes Daddy doesn't get home until 7:30 if he works out after work, so those nights are girls only! Ada's favorite meals are pasta dishes- the more veggies and sauce the better. She also loves to steal my avacaodos and tomatoes from my salads- I'm so lucky she enjoys such healthy foods! (Don't get me wrong- she also loves chicken nuggets, french fries, pizza, and ice cream. She definitely has her culinary priorities straight!)

Then, it's walk time. We get the mail and stroll around the block. Sometimes Ada loves it and could last for hours; other times we barely make it to the mailbox!
Lastly, its bathtime with Daddy. She loves her Ducks (and will occasionally let you know that a Duck goes "Quack Quack" if you bombard her enough with the noise). The purple hippo is also among her favorite bath toys. She's getting bath crayons for Christmas, and I have a feeling she's going to LOVE them!

I don't have a picture of our last stop- Mom knocking her out with her magic powers in the rocking chair! She'll sometimes wake up in the middle of the night if she's teething, got an ear infection, or just needs some extra loving (sound like a lot? It is). But a good night is one where she sleeps 'til 4 or 5 then gets to snooze for another hour or so in bed with Mom and Dad! :) This post ended up being a novel; so much for not having a lot to write about this weekend!


Happy Birthday, Bella Boswell!

One of my dearest friends from college, Roxanne (Roxy) had a baby girl just 7 weeks after Ada was born- Bella Faith Boswell. Her first birthday party was this weekend in College Station; and of course I took Ada. These girls ARE future Aggie roomies, afterall! Here are some cute pictures from the party:

Bella eating her Birthday Cupcake- she was much daintier about it than The Bug!
Ada being a Quirky Turkey- she was obsessed with venturing out from the Pavilion and playing solo in the grass. (Conducting an orchestra, as usual.)
Ada and Bella: Attempt #1
Ada and Bella: Attempt #2
Ada and Bella: Attempt #3 (this will have to do!)
My other good friend from college, Kinslow. (Well, her name is Jessica; but for some reason I can only address her by her last name!) Ada LOVED her!
Ada also loved Kinslow's dog: Stewart! Look how gently Ada is petting him. It took all of her efforts and restraint not to grab him up and squeeze him like a Lovey!

Alicia, Ada, Bella, and Roxanne

Alicia, Ada, Kinslow, Bella, and Roxanne