Friday, December 30, 2011

It was truly a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

I don't know about you guys but we had such a great Christmas! My favorite part of it all is spending time with my family! Each year we spend Christmas Eve at my parents' house and Christmas Day at my inlaws.  The kids have so much fun playing until they're plain tuckered out with all their cousins! It's such an exciting time. 
Matt and I had a lot of fun playing Santa this year - I mean we always do but this year was our funnest so far.  See, we had Christmas all taken care of thanks to Walmart bringing back lay away! Then at the last minute Zade pulls a fast one and asks for a "blue. motor.cycle"  on the preschool Christmas program video.  Well, me? I was fine with him not getting it - I mean, we can't give them EVERYTHING, right? But Matt? Uh, no.  He was a little heartbroken that he couldn't fulfill this request - especially since it was a motorcycle.  But, the money for Christmas was spent and there really wasn't time to come up with a motorcycle.  But- nevertheless, one very kind man happened to have a blue motorcycle brand new in his shop and gave it to us for $30! It was a miracle! Matt was so excited, I thought he was gonna do a cartwheel! He and the guys at the station switched out the stickers and turned it into a police motorcycle - since Zade is a clone of his father!
But another problem arose, what do we get Gracie that is just as exciting to her but not a million dollars? Everytime we asked her what she wanted she'd say new markers.  That's so Gracie.  So we decided to give her a little table/desk where she could do all of her writing, cutting, drawing, and gluing. 
Christmas morning was not a let down! The kids loved all of their things and were just so happy!
Here are some pics of all of our Christmas gatherings, plus a bonus pic that you might want to brace yourself for.  :) Hopefully, you haven't just eaten because you might lose your lunch.
 This is at my parent's on Christmas Eve.  That's my nephew Tristan in front, Zade and Gracie, my sister, Crystal and my Uncle Doug in the back.

 This is Zade and Tyson, my oldest nephew, being sweet!

 These are the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Darter kiddos on Christmas morning!
Before the chaos ensued!

 Gracie just loooooves having her own space to be as creative as she wants to be!
And mommy just loves that all that creative mess stays in her room instead of the kitchen! lol!

 And this is the famous motorcycle!

 This is my inlaws with all of their grandkids. 
Check out the rolls on the table - those suckers didn't last long at all. 
We could just hear them calling to us -"eat me! eat me!"

 In spite of all the fun......there was a little sickness going around.  Me and Gracie both fought our allergies! But - I think we've won!!! Yay!!!!

Okay - brace yourself....................

Are you ready? ......................

I knew you weren't ready! How could you be!? It's pretty disgusting, right!?
So my sister and I talked my mom into buying matching shirts for our husbands.  We thought it'd be so funny! Well, the joke was on us! They thought they'd be funny and take these nauseating pictures in front of the Christmas Tree.  They could barely keep a straight face..........................dorks!

Anywho, we spent the Christmas vacation spending playing outside and having as much fun as we could! We rang in the new year with our church family as we always do.  It's a tradition I couldn't imagine doing without!
And tomorrow.......back to reality! Gracie goes back to school, Matt goes back to work and Zade and I go back to our routines!

Until next time, friends!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Our Christmas Traditions

Merry Christmas, y'all! We are really getting excited for the big day here at our house! Since having kids Christmas has gotten more fun each year! This year, so far, has topped them all!
I've had a lot of fun creating fun family traditions that I hope in years to come my kids will look back on fondly.  Here are a few of those traditions!
 This is our tree just after we got it put up! We always put our tree up on the Saturday after Thanksgiving! And yes, it is a Texas Longhorn-themed tree because we are still fans no matter how bad they are! Bevo is our tree-topper!
 On top of Bevo, is Taurus, our Elf on the Shelf.  This is our 3rd Christmas with Taurus (Zade named him when he was 2, so.....)
For those who aren't familiar, the Elf on the Shelf is a book that comes with a story.  The story is that this elf needs a family to adopt him.  He shows up each Christmas and keeps an eye on the kids for Santa.  Each evening when they go to sleep he goes back to the North Pole (cause he's magic and can do that) and reports to Santa on how the kids are doing.  The point is to keep the kids from misbehaving during the Christmas season - it doesn't work - but a nice thought. 
On this particular evening Taurus, "landed" on Bevo's head.  We've found him in the oddest spots - like the candy basket with a lollipop in his hand, inside a bird cage, hanging upside down from the ceiling fan, etc.  The kids love waking up in the morning to figure out where he is.  The problem- sometimes Mom and Dad forget to move him - or once he fell from the spot he was in.  That was a dilema since you're not supposed to touch him. 
It's been a lot of fun!
 Every year the kids make applesauce ornaments to put in the stockings of their grandparents and aunts and uncles! It's super easy and fun! They smell GREAT!

 Gracie got to go to see The Nutcracker with her Girl Scouts group!
 She loved seeing all the pretty ballerinas! They even got to go back stage and meet a ferw of them!
Matt was working the Christmas Parade for Irving this year so the kids and I decided to go and watch it while he worked.  He was leading it so he had us park right up front where he was.  When we got out of the truck a man approached him and asked if we wanted to be in the parade with the State Representative.  The kids loved throwing candy to all the kids and riding in the antique fire truck! They had a blast! It was definitely a first for all of us!

Tonight we will be making our Santa cookies and getting ready to go out to the sticks to my Ma and Pa's house on Christmas Eve! We're having fried catfish! (Odd, I know!)

I hope everyone has a safe and Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Hello, Gracie!

 Well, My  Gracie Mae turned 7! Can you believe it!? I do not know where the time has gone! I still remember the day she was born like it was yesterday! She was such an easy and sweet baby, too! But she has grown up and is such a sweet young lady who works so hard everyday to be her very best! You can search the world over and you'll never find a girl quite as sweet and that smile of hers is just priceless!

We were all about Hello Kitty this year! When she woke up on her b-day the kitchen was decked out in Hello Kitty decorations! She, of course, was the first to get up and seeing the decorations made her day! "Mommy it my birthday!!!" It was so sweet! We ate cinnamon rolls for breakfast then we went to the movies to see "Arthur Christmas"  It was a fun day!

Gracie and Kennedy have birthdays 2 days apart so we celebrated it together while we were out in Johnson County for Thanksgiving.  There was a bounce house, hot dogs, and lots of fun friends to play with!

Then on Sunday evening she got to celebrate her birthday with her other cousins at McDonalds.  She loves being with all her cousins.  They are her best friends!

We are getting ready for Christmas. Next post will be some pics of our family Christmas traditions.  Hope all of you are having a great Holiday season! Stay warm - and dry! 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My trip to Holland

I found this story in a book my grandmother sent me, knowing life wasn't turning out the way I was wanting it to for my little girl. I thought today would be a good day to share it.
" I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel.  It's like this... When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip to Italy.  You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans.  The Coliseum.  The Micheangelo David.  The gondolas in Venice.  You may learn some handy phrases in Italian.  It's all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives.  You pack your bags and off you go.  Several hours later, the plane lands.  The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."
"Holland?" you say.  " What do you mean Holland? I signed up for Italy!"
But there's been a change in the flight plan.  They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't take you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease.  It's just a different place. 
So you must go out and buy new guide books.  And you must learn a whole new language.  And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met. 
It's just a different place.  It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy.  But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around...and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills...and Holland has tulips.  Holland even has Rembrandts. 
But everyone you know is coming and going from Italy...and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there.  And for the rest of your life, you will say, " Yes, that's where I was supposed to go.  That's what I had planned."
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever, EVER, go away...because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.
But...if you spend your life mourning the fact that your didn't get to go to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely thing...about Holland."
That was written by Emily Perl Kingsley and I couldn't have said it better myself. It's so true.  When I look at Gracie I'm reminded that God is in control and I am not. There was definitely a change in our flight plan. But we have tulips, windmills, and Rembrandts.  Things that parents in "Italy" won't get to experience.   I'm so thankful to be a part of this little girl's life.  I don't know what the future has in store for her but I know God's got a great plan for her.  I look forward to celebrating her 7th birthday. Not only will we be celebrating her 7th year of life but 7 years of some major accomplishments that this sweet girl has acheived!

Matthew 6:28 "And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lillies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin."

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fall Fun!

 Well, I'm a little late posting the fall and halloween pics! Sorry! We've stayed pretty busy with school, church, soccer, and other activities.  Zade's last soccer game is tomorrow.  His team did really well this season.  They are playing for the championship! He's going to be so excited to get his trophy. But we'll miss the exciting games every Saturday. Can't wait until Spring! 
 Gracie is enjoying Girl Scouts.  They got to go to the Pumpkin Patch in Flower Mound.  That was a lot of fun - but a little crazy, too!
She had fun getting her picture made with all her favorite characters! This Friday they get to have a Thanksgiving Feast!
 Little brother gets to tag along on some of these fun Girl Scouts outings!
He actually thinks it's all about him - it doesn't occur to him that it's not.  In fact, there's not much about life that he doesn't think is about him! Ha!

 Gracie wanted to be D.W., Arthur's little sister, for Book Character Day at her school.  Her Aunt Karina graciously loaned her these ears to wear! She loves watching Arthur and reading the book, too.  Arthur is pretty much the only cartoon that she will sit down and watch the entire way through.  Needless to say, we have SEVERAL on DVR for those times we get desperate for a few moments of peace! :)

 For several weeks before Halloween I told my kids over and over that I was not buying them a new costume for Halloween since they each had dozens in their rooms to wear.  Well - I caved.  We just so happened to find a "black batman" costume (The Dark Knight) that Zade has wanted "his whole life" - according to him.  It just so happened to be on sale and they just so happened to have a Barbie princess costume on sale as well.  Call me a sucker!

So, Batman and Barbie came along to the church's Fall Festival and Trunk or Treat.
This was a fun night for them.  Zade was busy hanging out with his cousins - Captain America Keegan and Captain America Levi.  Gracie was in constant motion going from one bounce house to the other -back and forth, back and forth - or sneaking candy out of her bag! We won cupcakes and cookies at the cake walk and came home with pounds of candy. (No comment)

Mrs. Sue had the busiest booth painting faces.  Zade of course needed his batman mask painted on. 
I can honestly say, I was one tired Mama after that night! But the kiddos had fun and that makes it all worth it!
Well, hope everyone is staying warm and cool - whichever temp this crazy weather decides to be! I'd prefer a little cold so we can eat soups and corn bread - yum! 
 I'm getting so ready for the holidays. My sister and I have already been planning our Black Friday tradition with Mom and Nanny! We can't wait!
Plus, Gracie Mae's 7th birthday is just around the corner.  I'll post pics of the birthday girl soon afterwards!
Have a great day!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Soccer and Super Dad!

Zade started soccer a few weeks ago! He was so excited! He's been beggin me to play since he was 2 and we are finally letting him do it!  He woke up at 6:30a that first Saturday morning, crammed his breakfast down, brushed his teeth, made his bed, and got completely dressed - 2 hours before we had to be there! It was cute!

The kids got to come up with their own team name.  They decided on The Big Brown Dogs! I have no idea where that came from! Ha!

It's so funny to see all the different personalities when it comes to sports at this age.  There were a few shy ones who didn't want to leave their parents, a few kids who lost interest and wandered over to find a snack - and then there's Zade....

He's taking this pretty serious! He told me the night before, "Mom, I'm not gonna let the bad team get the ball!" 

GOAL!!!!!  He made the only goal that day! He was so proud of himself! He was fist pumping and everything! It was so cute! "Did you see that, Dad? It was awesome!"

Every week someone wins a medal for displaying the character trait of the week. Zade one this time for listening! He was so proud of it.  Now he's obsessed with soccer - the ball has moved into the house and there are many make-shift goals in the living room. 

The other exciting thing that's been going on at the Darter house is Matt's birthday.  He turned 34 on the 2nd.  Zade wanted to make it a Superman birthday party so we went to town with the idea.  We had to  make our own birthday decorations because no one sells Superman party supplies anymore.  But we had fun doing it! We turned it into a SuperDad theme because we found tons of things on different blogs/pinterest. Zade and I made a banner for him that said "Super Dad" and we printed the Superman logo to glue on his gift bags.  We also printed some coloring pages of Superman that the kids colored, then we cut pictures of Matt's face out and glued them on top of Superman's face! We also found these cute tags in the picture below that we used to embellish his birthday banner and to add to scewers and stuck them in his homemade cinnamon rolls.

So when we woke him up for breakfast, we all had on Superman pjs, or t-shirts. I downloaded the Superman theme song and had it playing when he came in the kitchen.  The kids got him 2 movies he's been wanting - Superbad and Super Troopers - I do not recommend these movies, by the way. And I gave him Superman undies (hee hee!) and a nice new shirt. 

He seemed surprised and seemed to like it! The kids had fun making his day special for him.  The hardest part was keeping their little mouths shut for a whole week! Whew! But we made it! I'm glad Zade chose Superman because that truly is what he thinks of his dad! He thinks his dad hung the moon and I hope he always feels that way.  I know I do! Matt really is a great dad and a great husband. He'd give me the world if I asked for it .  The kids and I are really blessed to have this man in our lives.  I hope he knows how much we adore him!

Well, that's all for now - next post I'll probably have some pics of Matt's Police rodeo this weekend. I also have a great story I want to share!  Y'all have a great weekend and Hook 'em Horns!!!!!!!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Shakin' His Groove Thang to Pre-K!

Zade and his "Tot" aka Tatum at the museum celebrating their last "official" day of summer. They are 2 wild and crazy kids. Lord help their teachers! Haha!

Well, preschool finally started! We have been waiting for this day for several months now! Zade has asked me about his new school all summer long!

This is how Zade would like to dress for preschool.  Um, no! Actually, if it were completely up to him there would be a cape attached to each shirt!

This was at Meet The Teacher.

  I have no idea why he was acting like this but this was the best we could do to get him to take his picture with them.  I mean, I had to go pry him out from underneath the table.  It was a little embarrassing.  Not a great first impression.  But totally Zade!

Now he's all dressed in his skateboard shirt and ready for school! He was so excited!

He's such a goofy kid! He keeps life interesting.

  He told me I didn't have to come in and that he could take himself.  Um, I work here Zade! Haha! He acts like it's his first day of junior high or something! Oh you just wait buddy, I'll be in full-on moo-moo, with curlers in my hair and no make up that day! Ha! I can't wait!

It just made his day that he was in the KI Sports Class and that his name was on a soccerball and a baseball for his seat and basket!

Now this is what I'm talkin' about!

 He hasn't been this tired since school last year! We had a hard time wearing this kid out all summer and Mrs.Watkins and Mrs.Peterson did in 5 short hours!
 He had a great first day! He said his favorite thing was playing on the playground and playing with play-doh! He made lots of friends but he can't remember their names!
I know he misses his HCP friends but I know this is the best place for him and me! We're gonna make lots of new friends! We're so excited!

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Luckiest Gal in the Whole Wide World!

These 3 people right here are why I'm the luckiest gal in the whole wide world! They made my birthday so special! I can not tell you how much I love them!

This is the amazing weather I woke up to today! Thanks, for the bday weather, Lord!

Matt made me yummy eggs and bacon for breakfast and served them to me in bed! Ahh, that's the life! There was also a tall glass of Diet Coke. Not a bad way to start my day!

He also got me this YUMMMMYYY cake from Woolley's Frozen Custard!
It's a chocolate cake with chocolate frozen custard inside topped with chocolate butter cream icing. Soooo fattening but soooo good. As my sister says, "What a way to go!"

This is the inside of the birthday card the kids got me. You can see their little scribbles on it. I tell ya what, I have the greatest kids. I used my birthday to steal kisses from Zade all day today.  He's already too big and tough for kissin' his Mama - (tear). Gracie will always be willing to snuggle with me.  She's my sweet girl!

This is the front of the card Matt got me.  The inside says, " From someone who still wants it!".  Such a typical card from my Honey! But let me tell ya, that butt is definitely bigger after that yummy fattening cake! But "What a way to go!" Ha!

Matt asked me what I wanted to do today. Since the weather was so amazing I decided we should go fishing.  It was so nice out! The kids like to fish and Zade is really good at it.  Gracie likes to dig around in the dirt nearby.  I love the peacefulness of it all.  We didn't catch anything but it sure was nice to get some fresh air.  I think it made us all much happier people!

When we realized the fish just weren't bitin' we went to the playground.
Look at that smile! Those front 2 teeth are coming in.  It kinda makes me sad.  She's not a little girl anymore. :(

This one isn't very little anymore either. 
 But I tell you what, these 2 kids make me so happy! Yes, they are rotten to the core - but I wouldn't have them any other way. 
Thank you to Matt, Gracie and Zade for making my birthday so special! I love you 3 more than words can say! This was such a great day!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

ABC, 123 !!!!

 Well, school is finally back in session! You have no idea how happy Gracie Mae is about that.  I don't think you'll ever find a kid who loves school as much as she does!
On Sunday she had fun getting everything ready to go.  She's old enough and getting more mature so that she can help me do things like this and understand that it isn't happening right now - but, tomorrow.  So as we were getting things ready she would say, " I'm gonna take my lunch?"  And because I wanna make sure she understands it's not going to happen today I'll say " Yep! Tomorrow!" So eventually, she went around the house singing " Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you tomorrow!"  It was pretty cute!
First thing's first, though - you gotta paint your toe nails before you go back to school! Duh!

Then she helped me make some muffins for the Tears and Cheers PTA breakfast! Such a good helper!

Over the summer, Gracie turned into a "sleeper inner"!  So Monday was a little rough at 6:30a!

Eventually, though, My Happy Girl woke up and was ready to go! She ate her waffle as fast as she could!

And here she is all dressed and ready to go.  I've taken a picture of her on this fireplace for the 5th time now for the first day of school.  She used to be so little standing there and now she looks so tall and grown. Makes me sad!

She was the first to arrive and sat at the table in the cafeteria so patiently waiting for her friends to show up. 

This is her buddy, Gerardo.  While I was helping with the PTA breakfast I got to watch those two interact together.  They cracked me up.  They had to show each other their backpacks, then try them on, then trade and try them on again! So funny! They are double trouble!

This is my lunch date! Isn't he cute!? We treated ourselves to lunch at Chick fil A. He's a good shopping partner!

All in all the first day of school went great! Gracie was so excited to go and couldn't wait to go back today (Tuesday).  She had gymnastics after school Monday and so by the time she got her bath and got in bed she was plain tuckered out!
Zade and I start our new preschool Thursday - we both have butterflies! Yikes!
Here's to new adventures!