Wednesday, December 24, 2008

We Partied

My baby's birthday is December 28. It has always been our goal to make sure his Christmas and his birthday are separate. It seems so mean to have both fun, gift-receiving dates in your life only three days apart. But, he LOVES it! He thinks it is so cool that his birthday is sandwiched in between Christmas and New Year's.

I usually have a very hard time getting birthday celebrations in before Christmas. But, this year, I must have had some super mom powers! I even got cupcakes to his class before school got out for Christmas Break! (Last year, that didn't happen at all! My poor baby!) Anyhow, Colby decided he wanted his three good buddies from school to come over, go bowling, hang out in the hottub, watch movies and eat popcorn and spend the night! Oh, and he wanted to have a Twister Tournament too! The boys had fun and were low on sleep and high on sugar when I dropped them off at their houses the next morning!

Happy 8th Birthday, sweet boy!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

We Progressed

Last night, we held the 1st Annual Neighborhood Progressive Dinner. It was the first time in the 6 1/2 years we have lived here that we have had a get-together that required no kids! When we moved here, there was the traditional Halloween night craziness that included games, food and lots of kids that just wanted to go trick-or-treating. A couple of years later, the parents gave in and let the kids do what they wanted -- just go get candy! National Night Out was another "bring food to the end of the cul-de-sac and watch the kids go wild" night. However, August 1 in Houston equals a warm, soupy night and that got tossed by the wayside too. We all figured we see each other everyday. We can wave and say our neighborly "hellos" and get back to our lives.

After Hurricane Ike, the neighborly ways came out in full force and in the midst of helping each other, friendships were grown. The days were spent helping neighbors clean up, the kids playing together, gasoline and water and food shared. At night, bar-b-que grills were brought out and we sat and enjoyed the food and company in the dark together. I decided that attempts needed to be made to keep those relationships going.

Everyone seemed to like the idea of the Progressive Dinner. I explained that my parents used to do this when I was growing up. However, they would drive all over town and not be done until the wee hours of the morning. We just walked and were done by 9:30! (We are such partiers!!)

We started at one house and had appetizer's -- yummy pizza dip, olive tapenade, and sticks of mozzarella, basil and tomatoes. I tried to pace myself...On to the soup house, where a new neighbor moved in. Aida is from Russia and made this AMAZING Russian vegetable salad, vegetable soup and a meat pie. Wow!! I was very comfortable at this point; but, we were only halfway done! On to our house for the Main Course and side dishes and dessert -- ugh! -- I could barely leave the table after eating small portions of pork loin, green bean casserole, baked beans, broccoli salad and potato salad! We decided to take a break and do our White Elephant gifts first before having dessert. We had lots of laughs seeing the gifts people chose to give --an old Mr. Mouth game, a set of knives, salt and pepper shakers, and a framed picture of one of our neighbors! Poor Aida will get to look at Spencer's face for a year! We then FORCED ourselves to have a plate of desserts!

Four hours later, the babysitters were taken home, the kitchens were cleaned and we all were snug in our beds dreaming of what Aida will make next year!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What Christmas Looks Like at My House

Last year, I joined the hundreds of others who linked on to BooMama's Christmas Home Tour. I am so glad I did because as I was decorating this year, I went back to those old postings to see where I had put a few things. (I know I say often how my memory is bad -- but it REALLY IS bad!!) Those pictures made me realize that my mantle last year was really boring -- so off to the store I went! :)

I decided not to join BooMama this year; but, did want to post pictures of our house anyway. My parents are the only family who have been to our house at Christmastime; so, if nothing else, the rest of our family can see how everything looks. In all reality, these pictures are actually going to help me next year when I am decorating!!

This is my "snowflake" tree. I have red, green and white jingle bells and white snowflakes all over it. In Houston, this is usually the only snow we see!

My homemade Santa greets you in the entryway in his "twiggy" sled.

Our England Santa sits on our Dining Room table. As I said last year, this poor Santa's view is sure not the same as it was a few years ago. Chris and I were standing on a street in Stratford-Upon-Avon looking at Shakespeare's home. I turned around and this Christmas store was behind us. In the window, looking toward Shakespeare's home was this Santa! I had to have him!!

Welcome to our living room. If you can't tell, I LOVE snowmen! This is actually a bit odd since I don't like being cold and told Chris that I never want to live anywhere that is cold! I am getting very accustomed to Texas' hot, soupy weather!

This tree is sitting on my kitchen counter. When we brought it home a few weeks ago, we told the boys that was our tree this year. (You would think they would quit listening to us for as often as we tease them!) I said they would only get enough gifts to go under that tree. Colby looked heartbroken; however, Connor gladly said, "That's OK. The cell phone I want will fit perfectly under that!" Ha!!

Decorating the tree...

Some of my favorite ornaments...

Merry Christmas to all!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

No Dessert For Colby

Earlier this week, (when it snowed in Houston!), I made a big pot of chili. After putting the finishing touches on the Christmas tree tonight, I told the boys that we were going to have Frito Pie to use up the chili. Colby quickly chimes in and says, " I'll just take the Frito's. I don't like pie."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Winter Wonderland -- Kind Of --

Taking Colby to the bus stop this morning was an artic-feeling experience: there was an icy sleet falling!! For those who do not live near Houston, this is a highly unusual sight to see -- especially since it was about 78 degrees yesterday! Well, as the day has progressed, more sleet has fallen and it is downright SNOWING in the front of The Woodlands right now!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


I guess once you do something for six years it becomes a tradition -- no matter how far from different it is to when you grew up! Instead of spending Thanksgiving cooking and cleaning and hanging out at grandparents homes, we head to Abilene and stay in a hotel!! It is not too much of a stretch to say the Blakley women are not all into that cooking stuff and my dad doesn't like that cleaning up stuff -- so about 7 years ago, my sister and her family, my family, and our parents decided to start meeting somewhat halfway.

Abilene is a sweet, old, laid-back town with a great all-suites hotel that serves a good breakfast and a great Thanksgiving buffet. The kids love playing in the swimming pool, playing in the game area -- video games, ping pong, pool tables, shuffle board -- and throwing the football around outside in a big grassy area. They love going to Happy Hour every night to get a coke and maybe a snack. And the kids also depend on Aunt DD to bring the crafts to take up the extra time!

The day after Thanksgiving has been one of "discovering Abilene". We have been to the zoo, Children's Museum, parks, movies, and bowling alleys. It has been a nice, relaxing way to spend a holiday together without all the work that goes with it!! And, for my husband, who loves all the cooking, he only has to wait a few short weeks for Christmas to have a true home-cooked feast!

Craft time!

Waiting to eat!

Connor ate seven plates of food!

Working off all that food!

A tradition that will never change -- naptime!