A Special Christmas Day!

Our tradition has always been to open presents at home then go "over the creek and through the woods" to Grandma and Butch's. The kids look forward to that each Christmas and this one was no exception. Around 8 or so we headed over the bridge. It's always fun to have them open their presents first since through the years they have always made Christmas special for all of us. I think Butch liked his rag quilt - one of the pictures is of his Father with Jeremy....I tried to pick pictures that had some meaning....Kayden loves Mickey Mouse and Grandma got the perfect gift! She was mesmerized ....he dances and sings :) Breakfast was served then we headed back across the bridge to get ready for our next adventure...typically we don't do anything on Christmas Day 'afternoon' but this year it was pretty special. The Boy Scouts decided to take Christmas cards and 'pine' trees to the hospital.
Due to health concerns, they were only permitted to visit ICU and the 2nd floor which was the surgical floor. There were eleven patients including one young child. It was great to see our boys (and Cierra) take time out of their Christmas day to visit those that were spending Christmas in the hospital.Next stop was to see Ms. Ruthie. She has been helping take care of Ma for the past 2 plus years. She had a knee replacement which landed her in the Shenandoah Center which is a rehabilitation /nursing home. Ma really misses her (as do the rest of our family) so we decided to stop in and see her on Christmas day. Luckily for her, her bed was empty! Her daughter had come and taken her out for the afternoon. Yay!Our final destination for the day was to see Ma. She likes to be warm so it's usually really hot in her house; thus the rag quilt. She liked it and we explained that we tried to use all green material since that's her favorite color. We expected her to wrap up in it but she had other plans. She wanted to put it on her bed. So.....Mom took it back and placed it on her bed and as of now, that's where it has stayed :)We wrapped up the day by having all the kids there again to open their presents - it was a great Christmas day!


A Charlie Brown Christmas

Our Sunday school class performed "Charlie Brown's Christmas" on Sunday. It was a big hit as the children acted out the confusion of what Christmas is really all about. Chase played Charlie Brown and Cierra was Lucy Samantha did a great job with this production and the kids had a lot of fun!


Glitter and Gold!

Ok, it's not really glitter but it is shiny. White gold counts too, right? So now is about the time I should ask for the drum roll because we have a BIG announcement.......Brittany and Brandon are engaged! So of course she came into Grandma and Butch's showing off her beautiful ring and it was shining :)

They haven't set a date yet as he will be leaving in March for another tour over seas but regardless, a wedding is in the future! Congratulations Britt and Brandon.

The gift exchange -

After church everyone came to the house for dinner. Britt and Brandon didn't make it to church but were able to fit dinner into their schedule. We enjoyed tacos, taco bake and chips with queso. It was a nice change and I even fixed Ashley Paula Deen's chicken quesadilla! It was getting a little late for Kayden since her bedtime is usually about this time so we let her open her first Christmas present -
Uncle Chase put her horse together and convinced us 'they always send extra screws' until the handle bar fell out when she tried to ride it, LOL!
Then we had the gift exchange among the kids. Keep in mind this is the first year they exchanged names. It was great and they have already planned to do it next year. I think they all knew who had who but it was still fun. The kids were good to us too! We received (much appreciated) gift certificates to eat at "Always Ron's" and Longhorn. We also received a bottle of wine (Skipjack at that) and some wine glasses that say "Gigi's Juice" and "Poppy's Juice". I kinda like having 'grown up' kids, ha!

We wrapped up with a 'touching' moment. You may recall me mentioning something Chase and Cierra were working on. Well...here's the scoop. They each received a gift however their older brother and sister didn't. Because they are now old enough to understand how this makes J and Britt feel, they decided to put their gifts together and divide by four. Cierra was the spokesman and explained what they received, what they did as well as some additional emotions. They presented J and Ash with an envelope and one for Britt and Brandon. Both couples were touched by the effort. J is typically emotionless :) however from what I could see, he was surprised, touched and grateful for what they did. He even told them they didn't have to do that but of course they would not hear of that. Isn't that what Christmas is all about? Isn't it more precious to give than to receive?! It was nice to see the two young ones show how much their older brother and sister really mean to them.

Here's some pictures from the evening....enjoy!

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service

One of the things I love about Christmas Eve is the candlelight service at church. Chase and Cierra were asked to come early to light the luminaries. It was so beautiful seeing the steps and sidewalk all light up with the snow around.
Once inside this little face was the hit of the night; just too cute!
I love this picture of her listening to Pastor Joanna as she told the Christmas story.
Each year the same decorations are placed around the church but they never grow old. The windows look so beautiful.


Happy Birthday Donna!

Today is my sister's birthday - the day AFTER Christmas. As you can imagine, everybody is usually busy with those 'after Christmas' sales but that doesn't mean today isn't special just for her! So...Donna, enjoy all those sales and have a GREAT birthday.

Love -

Ronnie, Bev, Cierra & Chase
p.s. I had this scheduled to post yesterday but for some reason it didn't. Sorry about that!


Merry Christmas from Crockett's Corner

May you and your family have a wonderful day today!


T'was the night before Christmas...

and all through the house
not a creature was stirring not even a mouse
all the stockings were hung by the chimney with care
knowing that in the morning baby Kayden would be here..

Winter beauty on Christmas Eve!

This is what we woke up to this morning.....the temperature registered 9 degrees and from the looks of these pictures, it appears the steam from the water created ice on the trees.

Today will be pretty busy - the last of our gifts is being finished up :), grocery list is ready, off to church then dinner with the family. We're changing it up a little this year and moving away from our traditional menu. Tacos, chicken quesadillas and chips/salsa/quesa will be served. Everyone was flexible so we'll see how that works out.

Merry Christmas Eve everyone!


I'm thankful for....

so many things but these two bubbled to the top todayJohns Hopkins has played a key role with three of our beautiful children. We are very fortunate to live within an hour or so from such a wonderful place. Dr. Hamad has been great to me through the years and now I am lucky enough to only have to see him once a year.

And then there's thiswhat was I thinking making a dr. appointment in Baltimore so close to the holidays?! Regardless, today was an absolute nightmare as far as traffic goes. So why am I thankful? I'm very thankful I don't have to deal with this every day like many, many folks do.

So - Happy Holidays - let the fun begin. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve!!


We must be doin' something right...

Have you ever wondered if you are doing a good job raising your children? Are we making the choices that will have a positive impact on their future? I do all the time. Are we too hard on them? Do we expect too much? What kind of 'adult' person will they be? Once they move out on their own, will they want to come home to see us or will they think "shew....finally outta there". These are some of the many thoughts that cross our minds from time to time.

Most of you know we have four children. PERIOD. It doesn't matter that only two were already a part of me when I met my sole mate. A family we became with a two year old and a seven year old....and it truly has always been a family. Later when Cierra and Chase were born, our family simply grew. We have never referred to them as half brothers and sisters (although some people disagreed), they are simply brothers and sisters. Through the years, the level of attention has adjusted based on the current situation (baseball, dance, cheerleading, 4H, Scouts, etc) but we always like to hope each of them remember the many activities we supported throughout the years and know that we treat each of them the same.

Tonight something happened that made me realize we are doing 'ok' raising our children. Chase and Cierra put together a plan for Christmas without Ronnie and I being involved. I can't go into too much detail as it will spoil the contentment they will experience but let me just say that tonight is one of the nights I can lay my head down and know that we have four of the best children in the land!

Cierra is the doer so she worked hard finalizing everything and searched for some quotes. I scanned through the book and found some that she had marked - (she's probably not going to like it that I shared)

Little deeds of kindness, little words of love, help to make earth happy like the heavens above. (Julie Fletcher Carney)

My crown is in my heart, not on my head; not deck'd with diamonds and Indian stones, nor to be seen: my crown is call'd content; a crown it is that seldom kings enjoy. (William Shakespear)

Things turn out best for the people who make the best out of the way things turn out. (Art Linkletter)

I also found these words on a stickee.....It's not about 2, It's all about 4.

It's amazing that an 11 and 13 year old see things in such a mature way. More to come about this during the holidays but tonight I am very proud of these two ----

I believe "life isn't always fair" but if FAIR can be controlled, Cierra and Chase are on it :)


Christmas Week kick-off!

Wow, it's here...and while it may be in the 20's outside, it is 82 degrees inside.
Shew...it's hot. I worked from home today (7 hour conference call) since I couldn't make it to Minneapolis for my last trip of the year. I kept the fire going all day (I thought it was a good idea). And...you all know how much I love to have candles burning. Then to add to the heat, J needed baked mac'n'cheese for a bowling banquet so my kitchen oven was fired up much earlier than normal. Needless to say, it was pretty toasty in the house.

A couple of 'new' things happened at Crockett's corner...first - Ronnie fried oysters. I have never been a fan (something about the slime) but every chance he gets, he will grab an oyster sandwich. Dad picked up a quart for him so we googled the batter and set off to deep fry some oysters. There were plenty so anyone want to guess what he's having for breakfast in the morning, lol?!

Jagermeister is something we haven't tried but Ronnie loves that song the Zack Brown band sings "Toes" where he references pouring a Jager and playing his guitar thus we were on a mission to find this! Yay, we did....and here you have it!

He had a bet going with a friend (LC) that he wouldn't like it but he did! He says it tastes like black licorice. Me, I just stuck with wine...so my friends, any wonder why it was 82 degrees in our kitchen?!
Tomorrow is another busy day - Chase and Cierra both have dentist appointments at 8:30 a.m. then off to work. Scouts at night then whatever else we get in to! Got my evites out for Christmas Eve so I think we're 'good to go'. Good night my blogger friends.


One little envelope....

with one BIG word!

Two weeks ago tonight Ronnie was cleaning his office (late) and found the information for his Electrician's upcoming test. Oh no!! It was the very next morning. No studying, no reading, not even any thinking about it, off he went to give it his best shot!

And...how perfect was it for him to get this nice letter in the mail on Friday!? Congratulations Ronnie - I knew you passed even though you wouldn't let me say it out loud!


Our snow measurement is in...

CORRECTION! Looks like 20 inches!! Oh my....lots of shoveling and cleaning out. The kids are out of school now until January 4th! They are excited (to say the least).
I loved watching this scene all day....as you can see now, you can't even tell it's a table on the deck..it's ALL filled in!

As of now, we have 17 inches.....it is beautiful and amazing! The snow has tapered off and according to our 'deck' it looks like we got 17". In most parts of our yard/property there is much more than that however from a measurement perspective, I think the deck is probably the most accurate. Ronnie and I have been in all evening - Chase and Cierra are at Grandma's for the night so we had dinner and we're just chillin' now ...Church is cancelled for tomorrow but I'm bettin' my flight to Minneapolis won't be :( Oh well.....gotta do what you gotta do, right?

P.S. If you're wondering why I am making such a big deal out of this...it's because I don't remember having this much snow since I was pregnant with Cierra in 1996!! I love it!

Inside the SNOW globe!

That's what it feels like. When we went to bed last night it had just started so I snapped this picture. It was starting to blow around on the porch...honestly it felt like 'a BIG one'. I woke up around 4:15 and it was very 'light' out and quiet.....everything was very still. I peeked out and it was still snowing and even blowing a little. We got out of bed around 8:30 and the scene from last night looked like this..The back looked like this
And now - looks like the snow globe is still being shaken (let me also say "with no end in sight") It is beautiful out there.
The bad news is Ronnie and Chase had to go plow and shovel to make sure all the apartments/townhouse residents can get out and are safe while Cierra and I are nice and warm inside with the candles burning...trying to decide what we want to get into.