Friday, December 31, 2010


As I was putting dinner on the table, Colsen came running up and said, "Oh, Mom!  You make the best chicken!  And the best rice!  Thank you for making this dinner!"*

Of course I couldn't resist that, so I immediately bent down to hug him and squeeze him.  I told him he was one of my favorite people on the whole earth.

"Yep," he said, "God gave you very nice kids!"

*(This boy pretty much always speaks with exclamation points at the end of his sentences.)

Some pajamas make you feel so good...

... that you just can't stand still!
They make you just want to jump around

... and even jump so hard you almost become invisible!

And then your head feels like it almost disappears!
Yeah, those pajamas are the BEST!

Thanks, Nonna!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

When it appears the child "locks" are no longer useful

We have been using the expensive high-tech child-locks on our kitchen cabinets:  rubber bands.

This was what I witnessed tonight, though...

...and then he nicely re-"locked' it for us.

Our ice skating day

We made plans to go ice skating at the rink outside our neighborhood with some friends this afternoon... but apparently so did everyone else on this side of the county.  The place was PACKED.   So we opted for Plan B (seems to be theme for us this month), and everyone came back to our house instead.  We had homemade hot chocolate and the kids played some board games -- and then we all played a rousing round of the infamous Bowl Game.
It was a less chilly, more cozy afternoon than we expected -- but tons of fun!
(Even Milo tried to play the Bowl Game)

Maybe we'll try ice skating again next week.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Snow Days!

This was the scene I woke up to yesterday morning (literally taken before I got out of bed):
Some boys were pretty excited...

...And they wasted no time getting ready to go out!

Colsen thought it looked so deep that he would "drown" out there... but he still went out eagerly.  He warned me, though, that I might look outside and "see no Colsen!  NO Colsen!"  I tried to tell him it really wasn't that deep -- but he told me he might lie down in it and then I wouldn't see him.

Nevertheless, they had a blast sledding and playing, and Colsen did not get lost:

It was a very pretty day!
And the sunset was beautiful, too...

One of my favorite snow day scene looks like this:

Today was basically a repeat of yesterday -- more snow time outside, and now it looks like another cozy evening inside as we play games.  It's a nice Christmas break!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Our "Plan B" Christmas

While we missed being with everyone in Ohio, we were also thankful to be able to celebrate with fun people here.

Christmas Eve was spent at Nonna and Poppa's house, with special guest, Mor-Mor....

After opening gifts, and a delightful brunch (and before a fantastic cranberry-chicken dinner), we went for a walk, did some building with Kapla blocks, listened to a "children's sermon," played Bridge, and sang some Christmas carols.
It was a very happy day!

Then, the next morning, Christmas morning...
We had a nice, peaceful time at home during which we read the Christmas story, had homemade cinnamon buns, and played with the kids' new gifts!
The highlights of the kids' gifts this year included GIANT trucks, a tea set, some science experiments and books (all from Nonna and Poppa), and a bag of rubber bands, and a metal tray (from Pete and me).  (Not really -- but the first 2 gifts the kids opened on Christmas morning basically looked like a metal tray and rubber bands- - and both recipients were VERY excited anyway!  We are raising very cheap dates.)
Our actual gifts to them were Guitar Hero (Strider), rollerblades (Rayna), and a straw building set (Colsen and Milo).

In the afternoon we headed up to the Drescher's for more rounds of Bridge and more playing of new Christmas gifts!

We also had yet another amazing meal, courtesy of Karin.

The meal ended, not only with some tasty Christmas cookies, but also with great amounts of screaming and squealing as everyone realized it was SNOWING outside!  The first White Christmas in Charlotte in over 60 years!

Plan B Christmas turned out to be very lovely.

How we spent Christmas Eve-Eve

Basically, we spent 8.5 hours on I-77.... to end up back where we started.

We set out to drive up to Ohio, got as far as Beckley, WV, and then decided to turn around and come home.  For about 5 of the driving hours, it looked like this:

So, finally we gave up.  We knew another big storm was heading this way for the weekend, and realized we didn't want to drive all the way up AND all the back in a ton of snow... so our Ohio Christmas was cancelled.  (The other 17 members of that family carried on quite nicely without us, though... which we were able to see through the wonders of Skype!)
Meanwhile. with very sore butts, we arrived back in N.C. that night and were able to go straight to a very cheery Wray family gathering, where everyone acted happy to see us.  (It's amazing to me when a hostess says, "Great -- your family of 6 is coming for dinner at the last minute!  Come on over!"   Sis-in-law Amy-K is that amazing hostess.)  We were blessed with a delicious lasagne dinner and white elephant gift swap -- the perfect antidotes to a long travel day.

So our Christmas became "Plan B" -- as if there is such a thing.  (Our Plan B's are always God's Plan A's, right?)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Annual Christmas piano photo(s)

For the last few years I've taken a picture of the kids playing the piano together.  The piano bench is getting pretty crowded!  (And the "music" is getting awfully loud!)

Here are a few from this year's attempt:

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

'Tis the season for crafting

One of my favorite things about this time of year is the time to do some extra projects.  Here was one I found online that I thought was clever... Making a Christmas tree out of an old Reader's Digest magazine!
And the finished products:

We also made some toy soldier ornaments -- even Colsen participated:

So it's feeling pretty festive around here!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Birthday blessings

This has been my best birthday ever!  (Pete says I say that every year -- just like my mom does -- but it's still always true.) 

I have felt very blessed today -- by so many people.  This morning the first thing I heard about was how our house had been "candy-caned" by some friends -- what a fun way to wake up!  And throughout the day I've heard from many friends and family members....  love that. 

 I also got to start and end the day with Pete's delicious cooking:  French toast and bacon in the morning, and the unique cake pictured above in the evening (which was more of a group project).  Pete and the kids all gave me some very thoughtful and fun gifts, too.  And Strider had this tidbit to share:  "Mom, you should have had me when you were 20.  Then you'd be almost a grandmother by now!"  THAT was sobering to think about.

I had planned to spend some time with my grandmother, who is in town, and my parents, but since Mor-Mor was under the weather, that had to be postponed.  Other Wray family members quickly scrambled the jets and brought out the reinforcements, and I was delighted to have a special (Chick Fil-A) lunch with Katie, Titus, Karin and Dan.  Karin tells me none of the pictures (on her camera) that included her turned out well, suspiciously, so these are the only ones I have from that event:

(That's how I feel about being 38!)

Tonight, after enjoying a beautiful sunset (my birthday gift from God?), I had a fun time with the fam as we continued our movie "series" (we only get to watch about 30 minutes a night, so it takes us a long time to finish an entire movie), which has been "Christmas with the Kranks" -with the Franks.  I love saying that. 

 So all in all, it's been a great day!  Oh -- and I found out I got promoted and a pay raise at Princeton Review, so that was another fun gift.

Definitely my best birthday ever!