Friday, December 31, 2010

In Which I Ramble Incessantly

Last Sunday and Monday found us spending lots of time with friends and family. Sunday morning we went to the church I grew up in and introduced Emerson to several of my parents’ friends while the other three kids ran around the auditorium like banchies, Uncle Andy trailing dutifully behind. Brandon and I attended different churches growing up, so afterwards the six of us high tailed it across town to have after-church lunch with some friends from North Point.

We’re blessed to have so many friends who are more like family, and we were so thankful to get to have a chance this trip to see a few of them. There are people in our lives we can go months and months without seeing and then sit at at Taco Bueno with for two hours while our four tired children run around the empty restaurant and climb over empty booths and there’s no where else we would rather be. Some people just feel like home, and the Farras are some of those people.

Heaven forbid I actually get any pictures at lunch. I have 200 pictures of my children jumping into a pile of leaves, and none of lunch with the Farras.

We spent Sunday evening at the house with the Means family, enjoying tacos cooked on the griddle and suffering through family pictures with my children. Dinner with the Means used to be nine people: four Means and five Sloans. Now it’s four grandparents and their children, with five spouses and eight children under eight. Mass chaos ensued, stories were told, tears were shed, and Christmas gifts were fought over, and the two families who have been sharing dinners and coming in through the backdoor for the better part of 30 years didn’t bat an eye.

And did I mention that we took a few family pictures? After about 300 flashes and a little photoshop magic, a few decent shots were pulled from the rubble:

Six kids sitting on a couch with no screaming, biting, climbing, or tongues sticking out? No problem with a little photoshop!

My boys? They love their daddy.

I've never thought Dane looked much like Brandon until I saw this picture:

Monday was our last full day before we had to head back to Houston on Tuesday, and we decided to make the most of it and cram as much fun as we could in before we heading back to reality. Well, cram it in after waking up late and enjoying a leisurely breakfast and coffee time. We, along with John and Brandy, left the little kids with MoMo and Pappy and took Dane to see the new Narnia movie with the guys while us girls saw whatever romantic comedy is out right now. I didn’t really care what movie I saw, I was just glad for a coupe of hours where I got to sit in a theater full of adults without having to share my coke with anyone. And, of course, we saw someone we go to church with at the movies 250 miles away from home. Naturally.

After the movies, we scooped the kids up and high-tailed it over to visit Tommy and Kristin, some of our old friends. We caught up with them at their new home, and met their beautiful little girls for the first time while Aidan played with the pretend housekeeping cart. Never before have I seen a little boy vacuum with such gusto. Harper and Emerson spent the hour throwing toys on the floor and attempting to draw self portraits on the walls with chalk.

We left sometime before dinner and headed over to the Kilman’s house. We have known Tommy (this Tommy) and Rhonda since before high school (I would say for “almost 20 years”, but clearly we are not old enough to have friends for “almost 20 years”. Ahem.) Anthony, another old friend, joined us with his three-year old son, and we all sat around and watched our kids scarf down an embarrassing amount of pizza while we discussed how we are not old enough to have known each other for as long as we have.

I'm not sure if any of us realized Harper had a mouthful of brownies when we told her to smile for this picture:

Then our collective seven children retired to the upstairs playroom while us mature adults played Star Wars on the Wii.

Thankfully, Rhonda took 144 pictures of our evening together while my camera sat unused on the floor. Of those 144 pictures, approximately half of them were of Emerson hamming for the camera.

We threw the children onto the couch while we (unsuccessfully) attempted to take a picture of them all without anyone screaming.

It appears everyone was a little too distracted by Harper's antics to see what was going on at the other end of the couch.

Here is Tommy and Rhonda's son, Josh, with a little girl who is not allowed to date until she is 27.

We had a great time on our trip up to DFW over Christmas, and we're glad to be home, back to reality and the biggest pile of laundry I have ever seen.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Morning

Christmas morning (yes, I am still catching up on my blogging. I am hoping to be done with our Christmas trip by New Years) started bright and early for us with two excited little boys climbing into our bed sometime before 7am. We had threatened the kids to discontinue Christmas FOREVER if any of them sneaked a peak downstairs before we woke up because we wanted to get this gem of a cousin picture of everyone on the stairs in the morning:

Screaming baby? Check. Fit-throwing Harper? Check. Aidan's foot? Check. Confused Chinese girl? Check. Smiling nephew? Check. Posing Dane? Check. I know some families have special matching pajamas for Christmas morning. Frankly, I'm just glad no one is nekid.

The kids came downstairs to this:

Emerson and Harper had cars waiting for them,

and the boys had the long-desired Nintendo DS just waiting to played.

Santa found a first-generation Nintendo DS for just $10, perfect for little Aidan who, being a non-reader, is not able to fully play most of the DS games, but would still insist on attempting to play alongside his big brother.

I was pleased with Santa's gifts on Christmas morning, and I would highly recommend our "Matching Santa Spending" plan for anyone who has trouble staying on a Christmas budget. It worked great for us, and our kids did not miss a thing!

Aidan earned "Santa-bucks" at school for extra good behavior, and used his bucks to "buy" Brandon and me Christmas presents. Brandon got a multi-tool,

and I got a candy cane.

The girls unwrapped more dress up clothes

and my mom unwrapped a child-size Slanket*...

that she has had her eye on since trying on the two-person Slanket at my sister's house last month. I come from a family where more than one person owns "Slanket" and uses it on a daily basis.

The rest of Christmas day was spent in our pajamas eating a various assortment of sweets and napping intermittently. In other words, a perfect Christmas day all around.

*not to be confused with the more popular "Snuggie".

Monday, December 27, 2010

Meanwhile Back Home...

While we've been Christmas-ing out of town, we missed a great Christmas Eve service at our church. The service closed with a special gift to the congregation from our band:


Christmas Coma

Christmas has come and gone, and these past few days have had so much fun packed into them, that now I just feel like taking a nice long nap for the next 27 hours or so.

But, alas, more fun is still to be had! I'll try to spend the next few days on the ol' blog recapping a few of our holiday festivities, so consider yourself warned that the Extreme Boredom of Looking At Someone Else's Christmas Pictures might commence.


Christmas Eve at my parents house found us decorating a few dozen Christmas cookies with the kids:

I have a disproportionate number of pictures of this topless little girl covered in icing.

We put the kids to bed on Christmas Eve and the Santa-ing started:

...aaaannnd done!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Leaf Me Alone

It's Christmas Eve, and I and my loved ones are up "Santa-ing" while the kids (try to) sleep upstairs. I wanted to post a few pictures from yesterday so I wouldn't get too far behind...

Brandon and the kids made the requisite giant pile of leaves to jump into, while I was on the requisite quick-shopping-trip-before-Christmas-Day.

We had a new jumper this year.

I'm not sure where Harper was during all of the festivities. Napping? Hopefully she wasn't the hand:

Dane caught some air,

and tried a spin move

while this little guy just enjoyed hanging out with his daddy

and it will take no small amount of therapy to make me forget this picture exists:

This is why I so rarely go shopping. Things like this happen while I'm gone.

Off to bed, to enjoy a very Merry Christmas in the morning spent with family, little tykes cozy coupes, and more cookies than we could ever eat!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Armed and Dangerous

We headed out Wednesday to go to my parents' house in the Dallas area to celebrate Christmas. I know it's not "internet savvy" to announce to the whole of the online world that you are out of town, but I'm going to roll that dice. Would-be opportunistic robbers would be surprised to know that I have a houseful of strangers spending the holidays at the Casa de Tacky while we are gone. Our close friends live just a few minutes away and they have lots of company coming, so we're loaning out some bedrooms for a few days. I feel our incandescent Christmas tree star is safe in our absence.

My parents live in the same house we moved into when I was in fourth grade. It's the kind of neighborhood where no one bats an eye when you shoot a snake out of a tree with a shotgun in your backyard during a neighborhood Easter egg hunt. That you're hosting.

Hypothetically speaking, of course.

So shooting a few arrows by the back deck?

No problem.

Well, it may be a problem for cardboard man.

And his 100 point crotch.
Meanwhile, indoors, an all out cat fight was happening over their baby cousin's swing.

The next few days for us will be full of arrows, leaf piles, coloring, playing, cooking, snacking, shopping, wrapping, visiting, and lots and lots of picture taking, with no fewer than three professional photographers in the house at any given moment. I'm hoping to toss a few pictures on the blog as we go along, so I don't have to plow through 800 shots when we get home. Did I say 800? I meant 1400. We've been here 24 hours and my dad has taken 277 pictures already.

We'll consider it a success if we fare better than cardboard man.