Friday, December 12, 2008

Holiday Happies

*Christmas cards: Such a nice break from the sea of bills and ridiculous catalogs in the mail. We love seeing updates and photos from everyone.
*"O Holy Night"- my favorite Christmas song. The Mariah Carey version is beautiful.
*Scarves and gloves.
*Fires at home and lots of cuddling. Hot tea with honey and hot chocolate.
*My famous toffee- this stuff is addicting. I only make it once a year. Yummmm. My aunt made this with me as a child each year and I've passed on the tradition.
*Sparkles" as Alex says for Christmas lights. Here is a picture of her in our sleigh in the front yard.
*Teaching Alex about Christmas. Every SINGLE toy commercial we get "That's what I want for Christmas REAL, real bad. I'll have Santa bring me one when he is at shoppin' with his coins."
*Watching The Wizard of Oz. A holiday tradition for our family. Not sure why, we just always watch it together. So, this was Alex's first time to watch and she loved it. Toto was her favorite! She asked "mommy, can I get a magic wand from Santa for Christmas and bing Emmy and Macy into Toto?" Translation: she wants to turn our dogs into Toto. She loves to "bing" her wand :)
*The smell of a fresh Christmas tree.
*Our Elf on a Shelf: an awesome new tradition in our home. Alex named our elf Criddle.

*Having my hubby home for many days. I am a quality time person, and I really am looking forward to spending time with my fam, the kids and Nathan. My parents are going to spend the night on Christmas Eve and be here when Alex wake up to see what Santa brings.
*Teaching the kids about Santa and Jesus. Alex thinks baby Jesus is in my tummy?! We clearly have some work to do.
*Annual photo with Santa:

This year more than ever, I am truly reminded of the reason for the season and so incredibly thankful for the abundant blessings in my life. This Christmas I am most excited about the little ones and loved ones that will surround our Christmas tree!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Thanksgiving at the Darby Cabin

I've been procrastinating to write this entry because we took 344 pictures! I know there are a ton, but this is my attempt at summarizing an amazing holiday. The cabin is located on the White River in a nature reserve right outside of Stuttgart, Arkansas (duck hunting capital of the world). Here is our view from the deck:

The cabin is awesome! It's out in the middle of phones, no people....just nature. A perfect place to escape especially in this madness of holiday season. All of our fam (and the pups), Andrea & Brandon and the 3 boys, Deb & Darby, and Andrea's mom and brother came for the Thanksgiving holiday. We had a BLAST! The kids were in heaven. The guys were in hunting heaven and the moms were so happy to have help.

Here are a few family pics:

Pops got in TROUBLE for messing around during fam pics. It's nearly impossible to get 6 adults and 5 kids to all take a good pic. Way to go POPS!

Carson was the center of attention and loved every minute. He met most of the family for the first time at the cabin:

Okay, I'm DONE with all these pictures...seriously!!
Here is a cute pic of "the boys" posing:
And....5 minutes later: (please don't hate me babe-- too funny!)

Kids at play:
Alex playing peek-a-boo with mommy

Alex and Caden-- adorable together.
Alex learning how to use a pop gun!

Stud Caden using his bow. Can't believe he is 8 years old.

Alex & Dru playing with the box. Yes, we brought toys for them :)

Dru & Alex thought the pups would enjoy it too!

Eston & Alex having a precious moment on the dock. They are 5 months apart in age. So dang cute!!

Sharing smores

Poor Uncle B trying to catch a nap after a long day of hunting....
And then there's Alex...the mess, as usual. The guys came home from the morning duck hunt and all of us lined up at the door to greet them. Alex went running outside and grabbed a duck out of Pops' hands. Clearly, she thought they brought her back a fun "prize" b/c she was cuddling with it (ew) and singing "rubber ducky, you're the one"...and yelling "quack, quack, quack" at the top of her lungs. It was hilarious. We all kinda just had to sit back and laugh at her innocence:

Finally, here are a few pics of the Darby men hunting:
Nathan & Brandon practice.
Here they are at 5am ready to go.....why would anyone wake up to intentionally freeze and kill animals??
Dinner! (not for me)

And finally...a video of our strapping men "calling in the ducks." We were in tears watching this!! Nathan needs to get into it a little more-- haha!!

I adore our family. We have so much to be thankful for. We spent 5 days in very close quarters and couldn't have had a better time!