Thursday, December 29, 2011
The best part of Christmas is the morning, with my beautiful children and my wonderful hubby and me, all together, just us. This year was especially meaningful, since it brought Bree home to us after a semester away at college. The kids were sweet and goofy and silly with each other, which is one of my favorite things to see. These are the times I'm so proud of the good-hearted, wonderful people I've had the privilege to raise. And you know what? I'm proud of myself, too, for being one of the guiding influences that helped them become who they are.
Danielle has grown a little this year. Her hat might be just a little too small...
Danielle was very excited to finally get an iPod touch.
Bree is going to host all kinds of viewing parties in her room, now that she has her very own t.v. to take to the dorm.
One of the biggest surprises under the tree was Nicholas' official Belegarth sword and sheild. I think Doug was as excited to have him unwrap it as Nicholas was to pull it out of the box.
Doug got tickets for the upcoming Joe Bonamassa tickets from me. It's hard to surprise him, but I did it--he had no idea his favorite guitarist was coming to Fresno!
Mom's greatest gift? Happiness. See my smile? (By the way, Doug also got me a Kindle Fire and a Webcam so I can Skype with Bree. Those were also pretty spectacular gifts!)
Have I mentioned how much I love these people? The kids spent Christmas Eve at their dad's house this year, so Doug and I were flying solo. Our lovely extended family invited us to join them for their annual get-together, and we had just a great time. Our besties David and Carrie didn't even know we were going to be there until earlier in the day--we were so excited to get to see them for Christmas! Food, family, friends--seriously, the best kind of way to celebrate Christmas.Mama Carol's beautiful grandkids--Shanda, Marlo, Mike, Morgan, and Freya
Cheryl with Miss Marlo
We got Morgan, Marlo, and Freya huggable stuffed animals for Christmas. Cheryl stole a little hug from Marlo's bear: )
Freya and her moosie.
Momo hugs her teddy.
Auntie Carrie with Morgan
Dave with two pretty special girls.
Too bad these girls don't like the camera at all....
I just love Freya's candy cane outfit! The two girls chased each other in circles around the living room non-stop. I can't believe they didn't just drop after awhile, but they were still going strong even after most of the adults were ready to call it quits. Oh, the magical power of Christmas!
Doug and me
Two of my favorite boys--David and Doug
Kelly got a new toy.....well, sort of. In our annual moving-around-of-stuff-to accomodate-Christmas-decorations, Doug moved Kelly's scratching post from the front hallway to the back of the living room. Mind you, that scratching post has been in our home for I'd say two years, easily, and Kelly hasn't so much as sniffed at it--at least not after the first week or so. It's only been through apathy on our part that it hasn't been sent off to another home with a cat who doesn't put on airs about playthings. And yet, as soon as the thing acquired a new landing spot in the household, Kelly suddenly acted like she'd found the most amazing, incredible gift. She couldn't get enough! Here's a couple of shots of her playing with her 'new' toy.
One of the things I love so much about vacation is that I get a chance to see my work girlfriends without all the papers to grade and the bells dictating our time. We all got together at Alex's house, had a little gift exchange, ate food, and just had time to relax together. And of course, those with little ones shared their babies with us for the afternoon, too. Gotta love baby time! These girls are a great group of people, and I feel so lucky to get to work with them every day.
Katie Taylor and Taylee Pope.Debbie Garner cuddling Richie Bragg.
Mo and Allison
Alex and Daphne
Victory and Daphne
Sunday, December 18, 2011
The Mazella's annual Christmas party and White Elephant Gift exchange.
Kenny and Liane MazellaJennifer, Valerie, and me
Doug scores at the White Elephant game (until Mook stole his gift a few turns later).
Danielle's 13th birthday party. She has such a great little group of friends! The kids went in the spa, played a Who Am I? party game, and watched movies (and ate and ate, of course!) They stayed up way too late and had a great time: )
Lexi and her mustache obsession.... These are pretty cool sunglasses.
The famous Oreo cookie contest--move the cookie from your forehead down to your mouth using only the muscles in your face. If you've never seen it done, I suggest you put someone to the test and sit back and watch. Guaranteed entertainment!
We took Danielle and a few of her friends to the new Skywalk that recently opened up in our area to celebrate her birthday. Wall-to-wall trampolines, with big huge foam pit to jump into at one end of the place. And yes, it is just as much fun as it sounds! The kids all had a great time, but I suspect we adults might have had even more fun than they did. Tigger was on to something, I tell you--how can you not smile when you're bouncy and pouncy? Fun fun fun!