Monday, December 31, 2007

revolutions, not resolutions

We are going to do our best to not make resolutions this new year, but to make revolutions. Our Pastor did a huge series on revolutions in the summer and we want to make some big changes in the Richards Family. I share these with you, so that you can encourage us along the way.

#1 cash system - we have tried in the past and it worked some times. We used to withdraw cash twice a month for groceries, gas, entertainment and necessities. When we stuck to it, we were always able to stay on budget. So, we are going to try again, now that we have been in our rental for 3 months and been watching our expenses, we have an idea of what it takes to live here.

#2 work-out - I got a gym membership (from Ben) and IPOD (from Bryan & Susan) for C-mas, so I am going to begin hitting the gym this next month. I kept trying to get a group of friends to walk with me, but everyone's lives are so busy. It was hard to nail down a consistent time.

#3 giving up soft drinks and sweet tea - I have had to do this as a necessity for the past two weeks b/c I was sick and it was not that hard. I LOVE my sweet tea, but I have discovered sweet-n-low is not too bad.

These three things have been tough hurdles in the past. Hopefully we are wiser, and also have the kinks out of most of them, that it should be easier to follow through.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Top 10 of 2007

10. spent countless summer days at the Sprinkler Park.9. Had an amazing Family Day at the San Antonio Zoo in April.
8. Landry was Uncle Bryan and Aunt Susan's flower girl in June.
7. We celebrated Bella's first birthday on Gigi and PopPop's new backporch.
6. Ben got a motorcycle - after waiting 6 years.
5. I went back to teaching kindergarten once a week for a home school co-op.

4. I became a Stampin Up! demonstrator in August to support my scrappin' habit.
3. We took our first family vacation to Colorado

2. Ben started back to school in October, enrolling at Animation Mentor.
1. We sold our house on Honeysuckle Lane- twice

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

25 days of blogging...complete

I cannot believe I was able to keep up with this challenge, but I am so glad I did. I have lots of C-mas pics and stories to share, but they will have to come in the new year. (I left my laptop at home to download my pictures.) I hope you have a blessed day with your family and I cannot wait to share 2008 with you!

Monday, December 24, 2007

It's Christmas Eve!

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. Luke 2:1 -20

Sunday, December 23, 2007

oh the things they will say

If you have spent any time with my two-year old, you know she is a talker. Tonight, I was telling my sister-in-law and mom about her friends at church. She overheard me talking about her and told me to be nice. I replied "I am being nice." She then told me "she was going to spank me." I had to bend down below her eye level to laugh, so that I could go into the kitchen and scold her for talking to Mommy that way. Only two more days of my challenge!!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

looong trip home

Wednesday night, I was given some great advice from my friend, Heather, Mom to 10 children age 3 weeks to 12 years old. They are heading to Florida as I type with all 10 children in a van and no DVD player. We were talking about the trips home for the holidays with kids and she recommended leaving at night while the kids are going down to sleep. So, last night around 9:00 we loaded up the car to head to the grandparent's for C-mas, motorcycle in tow. Bell fell asleep right away, but by the time we got to South Austin she was wide awake. She began crying, no wailing around Johnson City and did that for the next hour and LE finally asleep about 10 miles from Gigi's. I know I sang Jingle Bells, Jesus Loves Me, and We wish you a Merry Christmas multiple times and Twinkle, Twinkle every time a star became visible, but it was not the worst trip ever!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

new doctor

God totally blessed me with a new doctor this week. I have lived in Austin for 6+ years and I have never found a doctor for when Ben or I are sick. I have gone to probably 4 or 5 doctors since we have lived here and could never find one that I liked or could understand. A couple of months back, I was taking pics at our Ladies Refreshed at church and this tall lady asked if I would take her photo for a non-profit. I said sure, and thought very little of it. The next week, she e-mailed me to get a copy of the photo and then told me she was a new doctor in the area if I was in need of a doctor. At that moment no, but knew allergy season was coming. Well, Tuesday I woke up sick, but managed to get through the day and then that night I had the worst back pain. Wednesday morning it dawned on me - I had a kidney infection. Fretting, realizing I did not have a dr. or the fact it was 5 days till C-mas I called her - had her # in my photo archives and she saw my that morning, (did not play the name card yet) just knew I was in pain and said come in - and she was not seeing patients that morning b/c she was leaving for C-mas, but she saw me b/c she knew I was sick! Ok, this is a lot longer than I wanted to be - but SHE WAS AWESOME!! She was so witty and so personal, then I told her who I was and she became even more friendlier! She got me one of her brochures and her post cards and there was the pic! I had no idea my serving the Lord by taking pics at Refreshed would lead to such a blessing, but let me tell you , the meds kicked in right away and I finally have a doctor!! Her name is Lori Palazzo and she is at San Gabriel Internal Medicine in Georgetown. If you are in need of a doctor, she was a doll!!

Birthday Party for Jesus

Bell has begun walking and there is no more standing for pics without her trying to walk to me.
Landry loves the ornaments on the tree, she likes to ring the bells best.
Last night at church was our church Christmas Party. We had potluck and karaoke in the main sanctuary. I let the girls wear some fun Christmas outfits including Bella wearing a white button up. They fed the kids mac and cheese, either Bell did not get any or they were gracious enough to feed her!! Ben and I had a great time chatting with friends and the girls had a blast - Landry with Ms. Kristine and Bell with Mr. Tim. Ben and I have both decided to begin serving again this January and everyone we told were so excited we were coming back. We cannot wait to hang out with our friends and serving in His house again. Ben will be back on the media team and I will be serving as Pastor Lori's assistant on Sunday mornings and I will be working with the curriculum on Fridays again.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

my beanie baby

We let Bell feed herself last night - we had beans and Spanish rice. She loved it, a bath was a necessity last night.

76 degrees in December

Daddy worked from home today and even got in on the fun!
Bella liked the leaves on the ground.
I read a great blog this week of a mom and she was saying how there were no pics of her 3 year old son in focus. Her take on it was - he is so active, that he never sat still, so how could she ever get his photos in focus. I loved this thought, I want my girls' days to be so full of life that all of our photos can be out of focus.
I had a looong day and accidentally fell asleep this evening after subbing in a 2 year old class for a friend! So almost missed my blogging challenge today, but wanted to share our fun afternoon playing in the leaves. At first, LE was a little apprehensive, but by the time it was time to cook dinner she did not want to come inside.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Trail of Lights and lines and people...

The girls are huge fans of cartoons. Could not get any pics in front of the cute cartoons b/c the girls would not take their eyes off of them:)
Daddy pulling the girls in the tunnel - we had to make multiple trips through the tunnels b/c they were our favorite

Bella liked the food

We had so much fun at the Zilker Park Trail of Lights last night. We are tempted to do it again this week. The kettle corn was well worth it, we had popcorn for snack today too!! The girls squealed all night long and the whole way home Bella did her "Hulk Grunt." I was disappointed the charged $10 for parking, it has always been free in the past. We had so much twirling under the big tree of lights. We played Ring a Round the Rosie until Mommy got sick!!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Kindergarten Fun

Friday was the last day of the semester for my kindergarten class. We have a three week break for Christmas. I absolutely love this job, it is hard to call it a "job". I have 15 kids and I get to do all of the fun things about teaching, all in just one day! We had our Christmas program Friday for the parents and then a school wide fellowship. My class sang Jingle Bells and each child made a bell bracelet to jingle for the chorus and then we sang and did sign language to Silent Night. It was a fun day. Another reason I love the holidays.

My kindergarten class

I teach kindergarten one day a week. I have forgotten to take my camera all year, so yesterday was our Christmas program (blog to come later). Here is a pic of my classroom during centers.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Mr. Paul and Timmy

When we were gone over the weekend, our neighbor Mr. Paul passed away. Mr. Paul was this little ole man who walked his dog, Timmy, 4 or 5 times every day. LE loved to wave at Mr. Paul. He was a great little man. He knew everything about everyone. The first time we came to look at the house he introduced himself to me and told me who everyone in each house was and what they did for a living. We did not know him very well, but we already miss Mr. Paul and his Timmy. Please say a quick prayer for Marsha, his daughter as she is having to go through his belongings right now. I cannot even imagine and at C-mas time too!

the best wife

I have been told a lot over the past week that I am the best wife. After six years of pouting and gaulking at every motorcycle that drives by, I finally agreed to Ben getting a motorcycle. I coordinated it with our anniversary and C-mas, so I could "give it as a gift." The weather has been sunny and dry for six months, now this week it has rained every day and he has not been able to ride it. Thursday, at lunch he came and switched out so he could drive it before it starts raining again today.

these are a few of my favorite things...

Bell loved the noisy ornaments

LE decorating the tree

Bella's first ornament

apple shaped bell - from a student

Ben's first ornament from me (he caught the kitchen on fire)- it is Daffy on a fire extinguisher

Mother's Heart from Avery's (from my mom)

my fave ornament from Ben, LE and I

Nana's memorial flower

Last night, we finally decorated our C-mas tree. Decorating our tree is one of my favorite parts of the holiday season. I think it is b/c I get to collect cute tiny things and no one says anything about it. I have a thing for knick knacks. These are a few of my favorite ornaments. Every year, my mom gives us an ornament. Ben and I have been giving each other ornaments for the past 11 years. They are some of my fave ornaments. Every year, I give him a Hallmark Star Wars ornaments. My Nana, my great-grandmother made us ornaments, so when she passed away my great aunt made me an ornament from one of her memorial flowers. WE used to give ornaments on Christmas morning, but a good friend suggested we exchange ornaments when we put up the tree, so we can enjoy them that season.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Happy 9th Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary to my best friend!! I love you, Honey! You are the best husband and best Daddy that I could ever had hoped for. I am so glad our mom's knew best!!

The Big D

This is really long, just realized, but please read about visit to ccf in bold, it is the best part.

Ben and I dropped the girls off last Friday in Kerrville to spend the weekend alone for our anniversary. We have been asked several times what we did and with all honestly - we slept and ate! We got to Dallas later than expected on Saturday. We checked into our hotel, got dressed and went to eat at the Grand Lux Cafe. It is owned by the same company as the Cheesecake Factory, which is our fave dining destination. It was really good, very loud and very cramped. I am not sure it was any better than the C.C.F. One cool thing is that they make your desserts when your order them - so we had fresh baked apple pie. It was really good, but we were kind of stuffed from shrimp scampi and steak, which we had shared. They did not have my fave tea, so I settled with water. Afterwards, we drove to Highland Park to see the Christmas displays, very fancy neighborhood, great displays. Sunday morning, we slept in and then got up and watched the marathon, hoping to get a glimpse of Marcus and Anna - it was really COLD and wet - 40 degrees and dropping - KUDOS to them!! We went and ate brunch - Benedict's - it was good, but pricy for breakfast. I had a Denver omelet and Ben had eggs bendict. Then, we went back to the hotel - b/c it was raining and 34 degrees. At 1:00 we had a couple massage. This was the thing I was most looking forward to, relaxing, heated bed, it has been a year since my last massage. She commented on the fact that I was so tight, must had been awhile before she bruised every muscle in my body. She was this little tiny Asian girl and she beat me up!! I kept thinking she was working the knots out and then she was going to go back and give me my relaxing massage, nope - times up! I was kind of disappointed, but I took the best nap afterwards. Ben had Olga - he said she was great! Got up from our nap and met my girlfriend (bridesmaid in each other's weddings), Kim and her husband, Staphen, for Mexican food at the Blue Goose. Great tortilla soup if you are ever in the area. Chatted with them and then went back to the hotel. We sat around for awhile and then decided to go out for dessert at the Cheesecake Factory -it was early and we had a big nap:) One of our big things about going out is the conversations - our dates and meals are always graded by our conversations. So, we figured C.C.F. would be a great place to eat dessert and have some grown-up conversations. Yeah, right. Almost as soon as we sat down this younger trio were sitting at the table next to us, the guy was kind of loud and it was very easy to hear all of his conversation. We tried to not listen, b/c we was sharing a little more than we cared to know, but after about 15 minutes one of the girls asked about his dating and sex life. He then proceeded to tell her about his ex-boyfriend. She replied, well I have known for several years I was just waiting for you to tell me. The guy came out of the closet right there in front of us, Ben almost spit out his strawberry shortcake and I almost choked on my cheesecake! It was the most bizarre thing I have ever experienced in my eaves dropping days! He came out of the closet, right there! Needless to say our conversation was over, we hung on his every word! We went back to the hotel still talking about his conversation. The next day, we ate at Bread Winners, our fave place for b-fast, Ben had pancakes and I had eggs Benedict on a croissant. It was so yummy, but I wish we had waited for lunch, b/c the sandwiches looked scrumptious. We drove home in the fog, the entire state of TX must have been covered, b/c it was foggy the whole way. We got to Center Point to see our girls and had Gigi's homemade chili. We had a great time, very full and ready to get my gym membership tomorrow!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Dallas trip

Ben and I have been in Dallas all weekend for our anniversary. I have been anxiously waiting to get home all day, so I could blog about our adventures. I am pooped and the girls are needing me more than my blog friends. But, I want to stay in the challenge, so I apologize for the uneventful blog, but I want to go cuddle with LE, (Bell already crashed). See ya tomorrow.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

marathon runner

Today is Anna and Marcus' big race. We are also in Dallas, but not running a marathon!!! Make sure you send her congratulations on her blog - Hanging with the Jenks. She has been training hard to run a marathon relay with her college girlfriends. They are raising money for a friend's baby who was born with no hands and feet. We got to see baby Will this morning on the Marathon on ABC. It is so amazing what this hospital does for these families. Congratulations Marcus and Anna! Will is in our prayers.

an aunt

I am going to be an aunt (again, I know). My brother and sister-in-law are having their first baby! They are so excited! Marissa is not feeling real hot, but she is so happy! I am so excited for them. Ben's younger brother has a son, so I am already an aunt, but it does feel different that my little brother is having a baby! They want a boy, I am hoping for a girl!! Ryan needs a girl:) July 6th is the big day!!