Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christmas Morning

Christmas Morning

Even Bailey wanted some extra attetnion

Madelyn and her new Princess dress

Opening her stocking

Merry Christmas!
I had to work the Candle Light services at church so we decided to stay in McKinney for Christmas Morning, then lunch with Shauna and her family and finally head to San Antonio to see my mom for Christmas. Madelyn had a blast opening all her presents, but the three main highlights was a Dora the Explorer ornament, a box of crayons, and a baby doll bottle that when you tip it over the milk disappears. I guess that means we can take back all the other stuff right??? It really didn't matter that a gift was mine or Michael's she just wanted to help rip it open. It was a lot of fun to see her expression on her face when she saw the Christmas tree and that Santa Clause brought the presents for Baby Jesus' Birthday Party.

Christmas Eve

Madelyn dressed up for Christmas Eve Candle Light Service

We just want to wish every one a very Blessed and Merry Christmas!
Love, Michael, Valerie, and Madelyn

Its begining to look a lot like Christmas

In Texas you never know what the weather will be like from day to day. Even in December one day its below freezing and the next afternoon its in the mid 70's. That's why I like Christmas light so much, because its a definitive sign that Christmas is near and it helps to enhance the holiday magic. Madelyn loves to ride through our neighborhood pointing different characters, she has taken to a set of angels down the street and a blow up nativity set from our neighbors, that she excitedly screams, Baby Jesus, Baby Jesus every time we pass it. It melts my heart to hear her point and say that's Mary, Baby Jesus' mommy and Joseph is his Daddy, which is usually followed up "Shhhh Baby Jesus is sleeping" . I happy to know that even at her tender age she is starting to understand that Christmas is about the birth of Christ.

Michael did a spectacular job putting up our lights and despite a minor injury with a ladder he triumphed and made our house look great! Thanks Mikey!

Make Up For Me

Oh-oooo, caught in action!

"Aren't I cute" s hould told me as she posed for the picture

Madelyn shared some of her techinques with me

As any mom out there knows, any time your child has been playing too quietly for a long time usually means they are into something they should not be. My darling, cute, mischievous Madelyn managed to climb up the bathroom counter and put on her "Makeup". I was able to snap a couple cute shots of her in action before she got a scrub down.

Gingerbread House

Sprinkles Sugar Rush!

Madelyn decorate the front of the house

This icing tastes good any where you lick!

Madelyn helping Daddy decorate

This year Madelyn joined in on the fun of our annual Gingerbread house. I was surprised at how much fun she had decorating....probably because she enjoyed eating the decorations! She was very decisive in what color and shape of candy she wanted and very specific to where she thought it should placed. She would point and say "here mommy" and my job was to squeeze the icing and she would follow up with her selected candy, that usually followed a two for me and one for the house pattern. After a few gingerbreadmen beheadings, amputations and exploding icing, Madelyn orchestrated a charming architectural achievement!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Prestonwood Christmas Party

Santa Clause and Madelyn

She is hugging the Christmas Tree

Singing Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer

Mom and Madelyn

Nickie and Valerie

Tonight we had our staff Christmas Party at Prestonwood. We had a great Abuelos dinner and dessert and Madelyn's favorite highlight--Santa Clause. I told her all day we were going to a party tonight and that she was going to get her picture taken with Santa Clause. Every couple of minute she kept asking me "Party yet", Party Cake, Party Kids", she was very excited, until I put her in tights. She did not mind the dress but she really wanted to put on socks with her shoes, not tights, not black tights, but she wanted pink tights. We have been very aware of colors and vocal of what she wants. But this time, mom won! I couldn't have her take a picture with Santa with some weird outfit on. And she was soooo adorable! Madelyn really didn't know what to think about Santa, except ringing his sleigh bells was a lot of fun!

Once again, Madelyn put her signing abilities to good use tonight, signing Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer on stage with the other staff kids. She really is starting to become a real ham!

Dinner in Bethlehem

Dinner in Bethlehem is a Fun Family activity put on by the Children's Ministry on the first two days of December. Families sit together with other families, play games at the table and an even do couple of art projects to keep the younger kiddos entertained through a served dinner. After dinner everyone moves to the Student Worship center for cookies, milk and a family sing along of favorite Christmas Carols. Then the best performance, a story from an angel who witnesses Jesus' birth. It's a great nativity story told in a whole new angle that really helps families to remember and focus on that the true meaning of Christmas is the remembrance birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The next best part was that I got to be apart of the choir of heavenly angels in the play. Me an angel...imagine that!

But I was not the only one with acting abilities on stage. Madelyn made her musical debut as well as Michael during the family sing along on the main stage...hey maybe we could have more kids and be like the Von Trapps from the Sound of Music. Or we could just stick to Prestonwood musicals!

To wrap up the evening, there was a live nativity scene that families could take their picture in front of. It was a great picture, except that Madelyn was so fascinated by the camel next to her that she never looked at the camera.

Look What the Turkey Brought!

She loves to slide!

"Momma, Watch Me"

She is all giggles!

Madelyn and Daddy having fun

Way back in October when we were have unseasonable HOT weather, we ordered Madelyn a Naturally Playful Woodland Climber from JC Penny's. It was suppose to arrive in two weeks. Well, 2 months came and went and not even the customer service people could tells us where this huge box was or when it was suppose to be here. So after many painful conversations our dining room took on new purpose in life the day before Thanksgiving. Michael pushed back our huge dining room table and assembled her climber/slide. Since the weather here has been so sporadic with one day freezing temps and the next day its a balmy 80 degrees, Michael wanted the slide to be in place where she could get some use out of it. Despite its location Madelyn loves it! She loves to climb up to the platform and screams for me to watch her! We have figured out that she needs to have her shoes off when sliding, or they act as a break and sending somersaulting down the bottom of the slide. This was a great investment as it has really kept her occupied.

No Kidding Daddy

Since Madelyn has worn shoes, the first thing she always does in her car seat is to kick off her shoes and then play with her socks. This past Sunday was rather cold and raining afternoon and we needed to make a quick Target run. Michael told Madelyn, that we would only be in the car for a short drive and to please keep her shoes on. We pull into the parking lot and Michael starts to get Madelyn from her seat...

Michael: "Seriously Madelyn, your shoes are off again!"

Madelyn:" No Kidding Daddy, my shoes are on the floor"

I think she gets her humor from her Dad's side!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am grateful for my Lil Turkey!

This Thanksgiving was pretty quiet. Michael had to work, so my mom flew in for the week to keep Madelyn and I company, not to mention some fabulous cooking. I tried several times to get Madelyn to smile for the camera, but no toddler luck, so I got was one serious looking pose that looked more like the evil eye than a pose and one with her shoving food in her mouth. I was very grateful to have my mom visiting, but also for the cooler weather that helped it feel more like a fall holiday than a Fourth of July picnic. It was snowing in Downtown Dallas that night and Michael need a Thanksgiving day plate, so what a better excuse to come down and see the snow....I mean Michael! Of course with my hot weather luck, I missed the snow flurries and now I must relish past snow memories, sigh...

Jen's Wedding Reception

All is Fair in Love and War

Jen & Chad before the cake fight

Jen's Paris Reception

We braved the freezing cold weather and drove up to Paris Texas, home of the Eiffel Tower with a big Red Cowboy Hat. Although we froze our tushies off, we all had a good time, especially watching Jen smear Chad with the Wedding Cake! Just remember Paybacks!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Gaylord Texan: ICE

Aren't we cool...this should have been our greeting card!

Ice Sledding..notice my cool friend next to me!

Our Red Nosed Baby Doll

Nativity Scene made from ice

There were giant ice slides and Madelyn wiped out on the bottom!

Warm Gingerbread cookies were passed out after ICE and Madelyn enjoyed her cookie in front of the Christmas Trees

Madelyn & Grammie posing with the Christmas Trees

While my mom was visiting, we had a family fun evening out to the Gaylord Texan Resort ICE!
It was our first visit to the Gaylord and we were very much impressed with the holiday decorations. For anyone who has not been to the ICE exhibit, I would highly recommend this cool experience. The whole display is indoors and kept a chilly 9 degrees. They provide parkas to wear over your jacket while in the displays. It was very surreal to be indoors at 9 degrees surrounded by mounds of ice carvings and sculptures. The details they put into the carvings are phenomenal and this years theme was penguins--way cool, no pun intended! We all had a great time, but Madelyn did get pretty red nosed!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Viva Las Vegas

On the Venetian bridge over the Grand Canals

I am the biggest M&M fan! We went to the M&M factory store on the Strip!

My mean macho green M&M- stud muffin!

I hit the Jackpot... I wish!

Micheal pressing his luck!

The Grand Canals

Main entrance Venetian fountain

Me in the Grand Hallway of the Venetian

Looking into our bedroom

Our bathroom with Michael's TV

Looking at the sunken sitting room

Lobby of the Bellagio-made from apples!
Michael and I had a fabulous time in Las Vegas with Jen and Chad! Our last night in Vegas Michael surprised me with the Executive suite at the Venetian Hotel and it was as wonderful as it sounds! The room had a great view of the Strip and Micheal was most excited about the flat screen TV in the bathroom. Everything about the room was luxurious and I had to have pictures as proof of my stay. If you ask me, I think we had a nicer room than the Bellagio, and they have great rooms there too! We also got to explorer more of the Strip after the wedding and had a great time just sight seeing and playing at some of the casinos.

Did I win any money? I am glad you asked... Here is my funny gambling story...
We had checked out of hotel and had an hour before we had to leave for the
airport, so we went over to New York, New York. I wanted to ride the roller coaster and Michael didn't, but after finding out that it was $25 per person, I changed my mind too. So we opted for the penny slot machines...That was about as much of a high roller as I get. I put my dollar in the slot machine and started pulling and NOTHING! You would at least think I would win a line or two here or there, as I had been pretty lucky before. I got down to .40 and I hit Bonus Party-three in a row. The machine started blinking and flashing and a siren was going off. I get so excited I won, I won, I won! But you have to hit the button to see much you won. Guess how much I won??? Go ahead, ten, twenty, fifty dollars......nope, I won twenty cents .20$, yep that's it! a whole 1/5 of a dollar! Exciting right. So now I have .60 cents left in the slot machine and Michael says I should just play it out. I get down to .04 cents and I hot bonus party four times in a row. the machine starts to blink, flash and whoop...big deal another twenty cents. But this time I hit the multiplier 4x and then hit it again and on the last spin I win $18.40! Now I am happier, and not a bad return investment on a dollar. So we spent a grand total of three dollars gambling that weekend, and I came home $40 richer and had enough to pay for lunch at the airport and parking.... not bad at all

Friday, November 30, 2007

Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas

Chad, Jen, Me amd Michael on the Strip

Look out Vegas, here we come!

Mrs. Duncan & Mrs. Harris

Mr. & Mrs. Jennifer and Chad Duncan

The Wedding Party

Michael and I in the "Love Garden"

Me in the Chapel of Little Flowers

My best friend Jen is now offically Jennifer Kaye Duncan, but she will always be Jen Sims to me. Jen and Chad tied the knot in Vegas on Novemeber 17th and I was honored to be her Matron of Honor. This was also the first time Michael and I had left Madelyn over night. My mom aka Grammie came in for the week to watch Madelyn. I am pretty sure that Madelyn didn't even notice we were gone with all the fun she and Grammie had together. Michael and I had a great time in Vegas and with all the fun we were having we still missed our little girl, but sure did enjoy some childless evenings. Thanks mom!