Monday, January 26, 2009

Christmas 2008

This year for Christmas, we celebrated Christmas at home. Now that the boys are getting older, it is important to Shane and me that we create some Christmas memories here; therefore, we planned to leave the day after for my parents' house up north. Christmas Eve, we went to the candle-light service at church then drove around looking at Christmas lights (all in 70 degree weather...hmmm...). After our annual "light criticizing" tradition (started by the Loudenslager side of the family), we returned home for our Christmas Eve dinner. The boys were excited because I allowed them to have the "fancy" glasses and sparkling grape juice...oh, what little it takes to make them feel so special! Once the dishes were cleared, we sat down to open the traditional "one present" which, of course, is always a pair of brand new pajamas to wear that night. We finally set out the milk and cookies for Santa, oh, and the "presents" Xander insisted we must give Santa this year. He was concerned that Santa gave all of the children of the world so many gifts, yet no one ever gave him any gifts other than cookies and milk. I wrapped some packages that contained a "scarf, hat, and gloves" to be set out beside the treats and cards from the boys. Oh, the lies we tell...I'm sure I will answer for every one of them someday. But the joy on my children's face as they plan and speculate...I wouldn't trade for anything. Finally, we convinced them that it was time for bed by saying that Santa certainly would not arrive until they were sound asleep; and that was when our work began...
Hayes didn't really know what was going on, but he seemed to enjoy the excitement.

The boys were SO EXCITED to receive a note of appreciation from Santa...he MUST have LOVED his gifts! :)

Cade was able to fully understand what was going on this year, so it was fun to watch him get into the festivities!

Shane surprised us all by buying a "family gift." He wrapped the ingredients for S'Mores for us to open, then ushered us onto the back deck to find our very own firepit! We have been wanting one for some time (especially the resident pyromaniacs), so this was VERY exciting to us all! Come to find out, Shane had put it together after I had gone to bed the night before! Needless to say, he got very little sleep that night! Since the day was unseasonably warm, we spent the rest of the day outdoors with the fire. The whole day was relaxed and pleasant, just spending time together as a family. This is what memories are made of...

Friday, January 23, 2009

The day after Christmas, we journeyed up to Temperance, Michigan to visit my family. Because my brother's girlfriend (who lives here in Greenville, NC) was going with us and had to work on that day, we waited until she got off work at 5pm and then left to drive through the night. Just for the record, I am NOT a fan of driving through the night due to safety reasons; however, it IS easier as far as the kids are concerned, and we DID end up making record time (which was a BIG deal to my competetive husband!). As you will see from the following pictures, it was a wonderful visit packed with fun-filled activities that the boys have continued to talk about since.
Cade took a special liking to my grandmother and could be found at various times throughout the day in her room just chatting away about anything and everything he could think of to talk about. In the above picture, he had bundled his stuffed "friends" in one of her chairs and had asked that she babysit them while he was away for the afternoon. Yes, he was completely serious...

Grandma and Papa got the boys a Wii for Christmas, so you can imagine how excited they were...and what we've been doing since Christmas.
Chucky Cheese

In a desperate attempt to burn some pent-up energy, we took the boys to Chucky Cheese one afternoon for lunch and games. Because of the holidays, it had to be the most crowded I've ever seen any Chucky Cheese...ever; therefore, the noise was a deafening roar, and we were questioning our decision. Fortunately, we made it out in one piece and the boys were sufficiently exhausted. Mission accomplished...

Ice Skating

Strapping on our rental skates and saying a prayer, we were banking on the fact that we remembered how to stay upright on the ice. After 10 years, I wasn't quite sure I would; however, I was relieved to find that my legs remembered the routine and my ankles weren't as wobbly as I had expected them to be. Not that I was ready for the Olympics or anything, but at least it wasn't probable that I would eat ice chips on my first venture back in the rink. Xander and Cade were making their debut, struggling to hold onto their "walkers" as they inched along the wall. Determined to do it on his own and declining any offers of assistance, Xander worked tirelessly and was actually able to go solo by the end of the hour. Cade, on the other hand, was more than happy to prop his skates on the bottom rung of his walker and allow anyone willing and able to push him around the rink. Once again, a perfect picture of our boys' individual personalities!

New Year's Eve
In true Britton Family fashion, New Year's Eve went from being a small, quiet (as quiet as MY children allow anything to be) family gathering to being a full-fledged mini-Britton family reunion! (and by comparison, I really do mean "mini") By mid-afternoon, in addition to our crew, we had Uncle Mark, Aunt Margaret, and Julianne from Canada; Uncle Rob, Aunt Arleita, and Michael from the Cleveland area; and Evangeline and Dempsey on the way up from Cincinatti! Playing games and catching up, the day flew by; and before we knew it, we were bringing in the New Year!

Evangeline and Dempsey

Michael and Uncle Rob

Becca and Steve

Uncle Mark, Julianne, and Dempsey

Cade and Aunt Margaret

Snow Fun in Michigan
Well, we didn't get as much snow as we thought we might while up north, but that didn't stop the boys from getting out and having some fun! Papa and Shane took them out sledding and had a blast in spite of a few bumps and bruises along the way!

"Class of '93" Mini-Reunion

After the Alumni Game at SLCS, Steve Worley invited several of us "Class of '93"-ers back to his house so that we could catch up on life while our children ran around like lunatics. Fortunately, we were all used to the noise; therefore, it didn't bother anyone at all. It was amazing that so many years had passed, yet we were all able to pick up right where we left off. I wish the years wouldn't get away from us like they do, but life has a way of making it difficult to keep in touch as much as we would love to do so. However, I can't help but thank God for the wonderful friends He gave me so many years ago and for allowing us to be able to maintain that friendship near or far, whether we talk every day or once a year! I am truly blessed!

Burke and Christen Davis

Steve and Joy Francis

Steve and Leah Worley

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Holidays 2008

Okay, I know I've been terrible about posting; but in my defense, it has been a CRAZY couple of months! :) Very little time to spare...and then when I DID have time, I was just plain too tired to think. Therefore, I am going to give you the condensed version. For more pictures, you will have to visit my Facebook page (if you haven't done so already).


(Aunt Michel- from Florida, me, Sara, Aunt Char, and Amanda)

Once again, we hosted Thanksgiving dinner at our house this year. Although we didn't have as many able to come as last year, we still had a wonderful time together! Starting later than we have in the past, we had an evening meal and thoroughly enjoyed the food and fellowship. As always with this group, we did plenty of laughing to burn off all of those Thanksgiving calories! :)

(Mommy and Hayes; Gage)

(Uncle Vincent, Xander, Cade, and Jeff; Sara, Josh, and Xander)

Mike's Farm Christmas Lights

Last year, we started a new tradition by going to Mike's Farm during Thanksgiving; so the day after Thanksgiving, we returned to the farm for the kick-off of their Christmas Lights hayride. It's the perfect way to get into the Christmas mood!

(The Golden girls; Becca and Steve- my brother came down for Thanksgiving, but we didn't see much of him...I think you can guess why! :)

(Cade and Mylee; Landen and Xander)

(Gage and Josh)

Christmas Cookies

(Justin, Landen, Mylee, Ashley, Xander, Cade, and Charlie)

One Sunday afternoon in mid-December, a group of my good friends and I gathered together with our children to make Christmas cookies. We met at Dawn's house after church and began a tradition that we hope to continue for many years to come. For obvious reasons (just take a look at the rest of the pictures on Facebook to find out why :), the girls and boys separated into groups and took turns rolling out dough, cutting the cookies out, making cards, frosting the baked cookies, and then decorating them with sprinkles. It was a fun-filled afternoon that will be remembered for years to come (well, especially by Dawn who is probably STILL cleaning up "stray flour" and sprinkles in places she didn't even know EXISTED in her kitchen!). The next evening, our husbands joined us, and we traveled around town caroling to many of the "older" couples that have come to mean alot to all of us over the years, presenting them with the homemade cookies, cards, and plenty of hugs. It was such a wonderful way to teach the children that it really is more enjoyable to GIVE of yourself during this special time of the year!

GCA Christmas Concert

(Cade with his buddy,Lowell; The Thee Muskateers- Landen, Charlie, and Xander)

Oh, if you only knew what it took to get these boys to this program in one piece and looking decent! Yes, I knew this event was coming and that they would need the proper attire for it; however, I did not realize that they did not have the "proper attire" for such an occassion. My children are not ones that really "dress up" for church (polo shirts and khakis are the best we do, I'm afraid); so when I went into their closet to dress them for the evening, I was seriously alarmed to find their one dress shirt WAY too small, as were their dress pants. Since Shane was working late and was planning to meet us at the concert, I was in a complete panic. After calling my two closest friends who were in a similar dilemma and unable to assist me, I called Shane. He promised to meet me at Sears as soon as possible; so I grabbed the boys and an iron and ran out the door. We tore through Sears (by the way, we chose Sears because we knew it wouldn't be as busy as other places at this time of offense if you're a big Sears shopper. :) and finally settled on a shirt/tie combo and dress pants. With only time enough to get to school and iron the shirts and pants on Shane's office floor, we were dismayed (okay, HORRIFIED) to arrive there only to find that we had SOMEHOW purchased the wrong size pants for Xander. Shane grabbed the pants and bolted back to Sears setting the record at 7 minutes round trip! What a man! Looking like I had just been through a tornado myself, I was pleased to escort my handsome (and appropriately dressed) children to their classrooms...on time too!


Christmas Cookies

Every year, we get together for our annual Christmas cookie night. Because I am the type who loves the "ritual" of making Christmas cookies rather than the "actual" cookie making process, Sara is in charge of the yearly event. She's the resident "baker" of the family, so I am more than happy to take orders, snap photos, and basically take care of crowd control. And as you can see from the below pictures, it's actually the ADULTS we have the most trouble controlling! :)

Golden Family Christmas

For the Golden Family Christmas this year, we gathered at Josh and Sara's house. With each passing year, these events become more and more festive as the children multiply and grow older! Someone is certainly going to have to get a much larger house if we expect to contain these "active young boys" in the years to come! After eating our "appetizer" dinner (everyone brought appetizers and desserts), we all exchanged gifts. Because of the aforementioned ever-expanding family, we exchanged names this Christmas among the adults but still bought for all of the children. The highlight for my boys, of course, would have to be the bike Cade received from the combined effort of Josh/Sara/Aunt Char/Uncle Vincent; and Xander's Lazer-tag game from the same group. However, I think the "big boys" (Josh and Shane) enjoyed the Lazer-tag game the most.

Grandma Golden

Sara and me

Jeff and Amanda

Uncle Vincent and Aunt Char

Cade and Uncle Josh

By far, the highlight of the night for me was a surprise gift master-minded by my unbelievable sister-in-law, Sara, and assisted by Aunt Char, Amanda, and Jeff. When handed the package, I was extremely confused, because I had already received the gifts from Amanda who had drawn my name; but when I tore off the paper, I was even MORE confused! Staring back at me were my very own children, dressed in matching shirts I had not bought them and framed in pictures I had not arranged to have taken. It was a very surreal moment! After the initial shock, I just burst into tears probably startling everyone watching. You have to understand what a huge thing this was to me. The fact that I was forced to cancel their appointments back in October and had been unable to find another time to reschedule because of how busy we were was such a sore spot with me! Once I was able to compose myself, Sara explained how they had been able to pull this off without us finding out! When she found out that Char was watching the boys for us the previous week, she had gotten the shirts and made an appointment. After we left for the Christmas party, she, Amanda, and Jeff joined Char and carted the boys off to the sudio and had ONLY gotten them home and into pajamas before we arrived back home! The amazing thing was that the boys never said a WORD about where they had been all evening! Oh, to have been a fly on the wall of that studio! Once they described how they were jumping all around trying to get them all smile at the same time, I could only imagine what it would have looked like! :) I STILL can't believe it all; but every time I look at those beautiful pictures, I think of how fortunate I am to have people like that in my life!

Keeping Up With Xander

Lilypie Kids birthday PicLilypie Kids birthday Ticker

Cade's Chronicles

Lilypie Kids birthday PicLilypie Kids birthday Ticker

The Days of Hayes

Lilypie 1st Birthday PicLilypie 1st Birthday Ticker