Sunday, January 31, 2010

Pajama Party

The Hopkins family hosted our 3rd annual Christmas Pajama Party/gift exchange. It was a very comfortable and relaxing way to spend a day in the middle of the business of the holiday season. Tracy had an amazing and delicious breakfast spread for us.
Then the kids made handprint ornaments and decorated cookies.
Better than trying to get all the kids together for a picture this year since the group gained 4 new members just in the past year, we divided them up by boys and girls.
Tanner, Caden, Brooks, Justin, Barrett and Carter (who didn't appear to be enjoying the photo session.) Hallie, Marin, Tanner, Harper, Lily, Emery and Aubrey
Each child brought a small gift for a gift exchange. Aubrey is "helping" Emery open her gift.
Lily likes her Littlest Pet Shop creatures.Princesses are one of Aubrey's favorite.

Moving Day

This is the night before we moved out of our FIRST home. This is the house Mike and I bought together after less than one year of marriage. This is the house that we brought all 4 of our children home to. Although we have definitely outgrown it, it was more than a house to us, it was our home.
Due to staging with some of our furniture, this is how we spent two months eating all of our meals. It wasn't a very structured meal time but we made it work. Here we are eating our last dinner at the old home.
The kids spent the morning with my friend Anne and the afternoon with MIMI on moving day. Thank you to both of them for helping us out!
1 very large moving truck + 5 men = 1 time efficient + cost effective moving day
1 important thing I learned from this move: no matter how organized you think you are, you aren't.
1 important thing Mike learned from this move: always turn off the water before disconnecting the washing machine to avoid minor flooding in your home.
We have many cherished memories from our 8 1/2 years of living here but we are looking forward to making our new house a home, having a little more space for all 6 of us and sending our children to an exemplary elementary school.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Walk thru Bethlehem

John Wesley UMC puts on a version of the Walk thru Bethlehem. MIMI has been taking Aubrey to this the past two years but this year we decided to take all of the kids. They also have snow made for the event which was perfect because it was a cold day. Each kid had a slightly different reaction to the cold, wet, white stuff...
Aubrey walked right into it.
Lily hesitated a little but carefully walked into it.
Emery would only stand on the edge of it.
Aubrey dug both hands into it.
Lily grabbed it with one hand.
Emery gently patted it.
Carter went in for a quick feel but didn't love it.
Aubrey figured out you could throw it. The majority of the Walk was set up inside. When you first entered each kid received a paper bag and a scroll/map. At each station represents a part of life from that time period. The kids would complete a quick activity or get something to eat and then the people working the station would stamped their map to show which stations they had done. If they received a treat or made something, they were to put it in their paper bag.
At this station Lily is pressing olives to make olive oil and the rest of us are sampling the oil.
Here the girls are stamping clay to make coins.
At this station the girls are using clay to make pottery.
This is the market. They collected a variety of dried products to put in their bag.
Here they enjoyed a piece of delicious bread.
At this station they showed the kids how to play with a dreidel.
The cheese station was a Hall favorite. Not only did we get samples of cheese but they had goldfish also. (I wonder if Baby Jesus liked goldfish?)
They made bracelets out of straw.
At this station they are making mosaic crosses. They colored a cross and when the crosses were sprayed with water the color would bleed and give it a beautiful mosaic look.
The 3 Kings were walking around passing out gold for the kids to give to...
Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus!
Although he is not pictured much, Carter was there and had a great time riding around in the stroller.
Bethlehem would not be complete without a live donkey and...
This event is very well done. They do an amazing job representing so much of the time. What a great, fun way to teach kids about the true meaning of Christmas. The kids enjoyed it and so did the adults. We hope to continue this as a tradition each year.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Snow Day

It SNOWED in Houston! Aubrey was the only one of the girls brave enough to go out in it. Emery stood in the doorway and watched while Lily stayed on the couch enjoying the snow from a distance. Carter would have loved to crawl out in it if I had let him.

It even stuck on the roofs and around the edge of the lawn for a little while. I loved snow growing up in St. Louis and this brought back so many fun memories of sledding and playing around in it. My favorite "snow" memory was when Mike would come to St. Louis over Christmas and volunteer to shovel the snow while the rest of us stayed warm inside and watched him. After all his hard work the snow plows would come by and ruin everything he had done (what a good 'ol Texas boy.) As a mom I now have a new appreciation for moms raising children in this weather with all the coats, gloves, hats, socks i.e. laundry!

Give Thanks

I give thanks to God for Mike, Aubrey, Lily, Emery and Carter. I give thanks to God for answered prayers for these children that at one time I wasn't sure were a part of his plan. Each day throughout the choas of "life" I remind myself how much I wanted this picture...
I give thanks for Aubrey - beautiful, articulate, directive and full of personality.
I give thanks for Lily - beautiful, kind, funny and loving.
I give thanks for Emery - beautiful, spirited, adventurous and energetic.
I give thanks for Carter - handsome, lovable, determined and a boy :-)
I give thanks for Nana for her love, support and amazing box packing skills (the week of Thanksgiving she packed up my entire kitchen and a number of other boxes.)
I give thanks for MIMI for her kindness, love and the time she spends watching her grandchildren for me.The Hall children are all thankful for their entire family...
...and turkey dinner!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Princess Party

Shelby had a pink princess party for her third birthday. Some of the girls dressed in their beautiful princess gowns.

Heger hanging out with his dad. The Princess dressed up like Sleeping Beauty.The birthday girl with her princess crown.
The princess told stories, did magic tricks and brought her favorite pet ferret.She made balloon animals for all the kids.
Aubrey's balloon turtle/flower thing.Lily with her balloon poodle bracelet.
Emery had a 'twin' balloon poodle.
She also did face painting or arm painting for Aubrey.
Lily chose a jewel to go with her face/hand painting.
The princess castle cake.

All of the kids eating cake and pink ice cream.