Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas, Part 3 (Nina & Papa's house)

Christmas Day at Nina and Papa's house... another tradition in our family. We head to south Shreveport to have Christmas lunch and open presents from the grandparents. Of course there's always a ham, sweet potatoes and other veggies, desserts, etc. We always get our fill of good food.

Both Nina and Papa command the kitchen by carving ham, heating up rolls, brewing iced tea, setting out plates.... it's kind of a whirlwind for the first hour or two we're there. After we all pig out and clean the kitchen, we settle in for presents. Lauren cleaned her face with a wet wipe to get ready for the action!!

So both of my kids got big riding toys from Nina and Papa. Brady got a junior tricycle and Kennedy got a cool new scooter... pink, of course. The both wanted to ride their toys in Nina's house. Not such a good idea...
But the hit, by far, was the new Wii Kennedy got from Santa. The video game captured everyone's child-like spirit... everyone got into the game and played bowling, tennis, boxing (the most entertaining to watch!!), and golf. Yes, that is Nina you see playing here!
And Christmas wouldn't be complete without a little family snuggling! Brady latched onto Uncle Tim for the most of the day! They were two peas in a pod.
Of course Kennedy got in on the Uncle Tim action, too! They both love their uncle!!

It was a fantastic Christmas.... one I will always remember!! Good food, good family time, great gifts and fantastic fun with everyone!! Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas, Part 2 (Christmas Eve)

An annual Christmas Eve tradition: Christmas Eve service at mom and dad's church - Grace Community Methodist Church. They always do a special story at the altar where the kids come down and hear from the pastor, face to face. Kennedy loves this part. I can tell that she feels special that she's invited to the front - no adults allowed.
Brady, my sweet rambunctious boy, lasted all of 10 minutes in the service before Chris quietly slipped out the back and took him to the nursery. He was much happier there, and the folks on the rows in front and behind us appreciated it as well, I'm sure. Lauren was as quiet as she could be, although she frequently switched laps until she got comfy with her mama.

After a yummy crawfish etouffe dinner at my parents' house, we packed up and headed home to get ready for Santa's visit. Kennedy had been running fever all day and didn't feel well (turned out she had the H1N1 flu - more on that later). So both kids passed out fast asleep in the car on the way home.
We successfully transferred both kids to their beds when we got to the house, but Kennedy - in a groggy, fever-induced tone - came out of her room and said, "Mooooooommy, I hadn't put out the cookiesssss and millllk for Santaaaa. Can I pleeeeease do that befffffffore bed?" Poor little angel was so sleepy. So we quickly poured the milk........

And placed the home-made sugar cookies that we had baked and decorated at Nina and Papa's house on the plate. There, perfect. Milk and cookies for the big guy. OH wait! Don't forget the reindeer food! That went on the front porch for the hungry little deer, especially Rudolf.
Then, back in bed... close our little eyes... and Santa would be here before we knew it. Good night!
LOOK AT ALL THE PRESENTS!! As Kennedy pointed out the next morning, "Mommy! SANTA CAME! LOOK at everything he BROUGHT us!!" As you can tell, Brady had no interest in a picture-taking session. It was time to rip into the goodies.
So off we went.... tissue paper flying, wrapping paper ripping, stockings opened. It was an amazing Christmas for everyone. Kennedy got rollerskates, Barbie clothes, non-uniform clothes for her to wear around town and to play, books (LOTS of books), games, and socks/mittens/candy in her stocking. AND - the best present of all - a Wii! My child LOVES that video game. And she's very good!
Brady's discovery of his Christmas goodies was hysterical! We buried his little giraffe bike and MASSIVE bag of leggos in the back of the tree behind some wrapped gifts. Once we started peeling away each layer of presents, he caught a glimpse of a yellow object with a bow on it. I think he might have stepped on a few gifts to get to it. As you can see, he LOVED the new ride.
Christmas morning with our kids was fantastic - honestly, my favorite yet. I'm not sure if it's because I feel very settled in our home... or if it's because Brady is a little older and can actually open presents... or if it's because it was a great year and we have so many blessings.
But the day was just beginnings. Chrismas, Part 3 - at Nina and Papa's house is next.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas, Part 1

Kennedy's class at Legacy Elementary School had a Dr. Seuss-themed day as the last day before Christmas vacation. "The Grinch" had been taught and read to all the kids in school, so each kid was allowed to dress up like a character from the movie. Of course, we attempted "Cindy Lou Who"... the little blonde girl. Turned out pretty cute! Kennedy and Cassidy Wilson were the only girls in Mrs. Ward's class who attempted this crazy hair!

Then each child was given a letter, hand written by one of Santa's elves! Mrs. Ward read aloud each child's letter. It was SO sweet!

Another new tradition we participated in was with our church, The Simple Church. Families were asked to pick up an empty box and a list of groceries to purchase for a family in need. What was unique about this project was that we were also asked to take it to a home of a family. It was truly a humbling experience. We talked to Kennedy about it being our duty as humans to help those in need.

(And never mind the fact that Kenned was wearing a princess dress. She was getting ready to see a princess movie and wanted to dress the part.)

Teacher Gifts

Teacher gifts are H.A.R.D. to come up with. I probably put way more pressure on myself to be creative and not give a Christmas ornament or a stereotypical apple/school bus/school house figurine. I totally copied this from someone's blog but I put my own twist on it. Do you like? I think Mrs. Ward, Kennedy's kindergarten teacher liked it because she immediately put it on her door. We love Mrs. Ward SO much in our house that I HAD to do something creative and unique.
Here is how I made it:
Start with a styrofoam wreath. Then find cool coordinating, but not matchy-matchy fabric that you like. Cut the varying styles of fabric into strips and start tying. Tie them in double knots all the way around the wreath. Then on a canvas, paint the name you want with cute polka dots or stripes, hearts, stars, whatever you think your recipient will like. To attach the canvas to the wreath, I used wire, poked it through the excess on the back of the canvas, wrapped it around the wreath a few times and covered it with another strip of fabric!
Presto! I cool teacher gift that only took a few hours to make. Seriously, if I didn't have to work full-time, I'd be a craft-aholic.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Rash decisions

Rash decisions are not good. I make them all the time. I don't think things through and BAM! - we have a new car. Or BAM! - I'm interview for new jobs. I get antsy and just leap before looking. Luckily these decisions haven't cost us a lot of money, except for that time we went to test drive a Isuzu Rodeo and drove one off the lot.

I am trying to be a more rational person. I am trying to think about things before I act. Susie reminded me that I thoroughly thought about my decision to get my graduate degree. Good point. Thanks Suz. It's a work in progress.

But when I got my pathetic cholesterol results and BAM! - upgraded my 1/2 marathon to a full marathon.... that is one decision I didn't think through. Yes, I know I could finish. Yes, it's something I want to do. But I didn't think about entering a training schedule half way through. I've been running every weekend for months, at a minimum of six miles, but rarely get to enjoy weekday runs. It's a luxury I don't have with my night class on Monday night, Kennedy's gymnastics on Wednesday, and Chris traveling for work.

Some VERY WISE person reminded me recently that you "train your body during the week and train your mind on the weekend." Yes, exactly. And if I can't train my body during the week, I'll be miserable during the race. I don't do things half-ass. I can't. I think that's my daddy in me. Do it right or don't do it at all.

So, I think I've decided to do it right - and only do the half marathon.

I WILL do a full marathon one day... maybe after I finish grad school and the kids are older and can come out to the course and cheer on their mama. Until then, I think 13.1 miles will do just fine.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

No pictures

Since we lost our camera, I haven't been able to take as many pictures as I would like. I've been relying on my Blackberry to take photos but the quality is not that good. But I am going to buy one this week, so I'll start posting pictures again as soon as possible.

So here is the LaPierre family news, in words only:

Brady is sick - first time in two months! I'm grateful for that (that it's been a while since he's been sick). I'm also grateful that Chris is home this time because he's usually on the road when one of the kids is sick. I especially need him to be home this time because the little man has pink eye! That means holding him down and putting drops in his eyes. He is a feisty little sucker. This morning, his eyes and nose were caked shut. He couldn't see a thing and was just sitting in his bed fussing for me to come get him. I felt so bad, but laughed at the same time. The camera would have been handy for that site!

I cut Kennedy's hair. Actually, I cut both kids' hair recently. Kennedy's hair was so long that it was tangled constantly. I couldn't stand to hear her whine about the brush hurting her, so I cut about five inches off of it. She LOVES it! She looks precious.... and older. NOT a good thing.

I got an A in my first graduate class!! And a 100 on my research paper! Woo hoo!! Actually, I like graduate school a lot more than I thought I would. Being an adult student gives me a different perspective. It's VERY time consuming, but worth it. Onto the next semester!!

We aren't going to be able to make it to Maine for Christmas this year. I'm totally bummed about this, but financially we just couldn't make it happen. We closed on the house too late in the year to be able to swing $2000 in airline tickets. BUT we are planning a July vacation there this summer. Brady will be 2 years old; Kennedy will be almost 6 and I'm guessing travel will be a little easier during the summer than the holidays.

I signed up for a full marathon. Actually, I upgraded my 1/2 marathon in New Orleans in February to a full - thanks to the constant razzing of my dear sweet friend Deni. She caught me at the right time because I'd just received word from my doctor that cholesterol was way too high. I've been running every Saturday morning for a minimum of 6 miles, but getting the weekday runs in has been a bit more challenging. So I bit the bullet and upgraded. WHAT AM I THINKING!??!

Christmas is just a few weeks away and I'm looking forward to the break from work and some quality time with Chris and the kids! Hopefully I won't let the next few weeks go by without posting!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Daughtry Concert

I love concerts. I haven't attended many in my lifetime (Dixie Chicks, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban), but when I heard Daughtry was coming to Bossier - I jumped at the chance to go. He was my F.A.V.O.R.I.T.E. American Idol non-winner. He was robbed... seriously robbed. BUT, he has been successful anyway. Actually, more successful than the winner that year. If you are not familiar with his music (shame on you), he's a cross between pop music and rock. And let me tell you, that man can SING!

I have always been a musical person. I sang in the choir from elementary school to high school. I toured with our church choir. I had many, many solos with our youth ensemble. In college, I would sing the ballad solos during our sorority recruitment. I love to sing. LOVE it. It annoys Chris a little because I will jam out in the car and serenade him. I guess that's where Kennedy gets it from... ha!

Anyway, I went to the concert Tuesday night with my dear friend Daniel. Chris was out of town and Susie had a Christmas party to attend, so I took Daniel as a little Christmas gift. We had a few drinks before and then headed to CenturyTel Center. I didn't care too much about the opening act, but when the drums and bass started booming before Daughtry came out - I got SOOOO pumped up! We had riser seats, which gave us the perfect view! He sang songs from his older album and then several from his new album. AMAZING show.

Oh, and I know my husband won't get mad at me for saying this because he knows this is how I feel (and he has ladies he admires), but Daughtry is a VERY nice looking man! ;)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

So busy

I have been so incredibly busy that I haven't updated in a while. Busy with Thanksgiving preps, Christmas shopping, wrapping up my first semester as a grad student with my research paper and presentation. And that doesn't even include all the WORK I have been doing. There is so much to write about, but not enough time. So instead, I will post a few pictures that I have taken the past few weeks. Stories about each to come.