Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Of course, they are enjoying the box more than the gift.

**25 days of blogging challenge - FAIL.  I tried to do my yearly challenge and even did it without bullying you into doing it too, Mrs. W.  But, I am caught up for the year and have thoroughly enjoyed looking back at 2014 for our top ten list that will post at midnight.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas in Kerrville

We enjoyed Christmas night at PawPaw and Mimi's with my brothers and their families.  We opened stockings and had our yearly tradition of opening presents one at a time.
We were all blessed with great gifts  a great evening with all of my family in one place.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Richards family Christmas

This year, our Christmas schedule was a little off compared to the past.  We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas morning at home and then traveled to Kerrville to see the grandparents.  We invited a family from our church who doesn't have family in the area to C-mas Eve dinner.
We did our first ham dinner, which included sweet potatoes, homemade (THM) mac and cheese, spinach salad, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie and cupcakes.
The kids went to bed very easily so we could wake up for our Christmas morning festivities.
Each of the kids got four things, I tried to follow the mantra, something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read.  With the help of Mimi she supplied most of the something to wears (shoes for L.E., shirts and jackets for boys and I got Boo a new coat), and I was able to get them all books they have been asking for.  The boys each got a SW character that talks.  R2 got a new alarm clock that lights up when he can get out of bed (AND IT WORKS!!), HR got SW bath toys, Boo got walkie talkies and LE got the original Kirsten dress for her doll and Kit's scooter and dress.
This year's scavenger hunt had them up and down stairs until they ended in the garage with a new trampoline.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Birthday Jesus

The boys baked their first cupcakes in honor of Jesus' birthday.  They did everything from picking the mix and icing, to mixing the ingredients to icing and decorating.  I even caught Hank at one point taking a sprinkle out of his mouth to put it back on the cupcake.  A few may have ended back on the cupcakes, but we share everything in our family, even germs.
Happy Birthday Jesus!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

a Christmas hospital visit

Bella was sick all this past weekend with a stomach bug and fever.  On Sunday evening, we made plans to visit the doctor on Monday morning, but around 1am, I could tell something was really not right with her and felt we needed to go to the ER.  She calmed down and went back to sleep and I did too.  At 5:30 when she woke again, I asked Ben to get up with her this time and he couldn't touch her stomach area without her crying in pain and we decided we needed to go ahead and take her to Dell Children's hospital.
When we started driving downtown she started perking up a little, and I almost went back home thinking we could make it till 8 am when her pediatrician opened.  We were finally seen around 7:30 and at that point her fever was 102, the highest it had been.  They gave her some Tylenol for the fever and some meds for the nausea and soon began an IV for fluids as she was very dehydrated.  She had an ultrasound on her appendix which was one cause for concern, but they found nothing.  They did discover she had an urinary tract infection that had refluxed into her kidneys.  She was admitted into the hospital around 11:30 for a strong antibiotic that needed to be administered through an IV.
She had four doctors watching her case including an urologist.  They did an ultrasound on her kidneys and discovered no real issues other than the infection.  The urologist decided she could be seen as an outpatient and discharged so she could be home for Christmas.
During her stay, she was visited by our family pastor from church; bearing gifts of stickers and an Abominable Snowman, two clowns and an invitation to choose a gift from Amber's Angels.  Boo and I got to spend some special one on one time together that often doesn't get to happen.  We checked out a couple movies from the hospital, had "room service" and snuggled on her hospital bed.
By midday Tuesday, they released her and we were able to go home with some antibiotics and a couple of follow up appointments scheduled for the next couple of weeks.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Run 4 Rachel

This past weekend, we participated in a fun run/5K to benefit our pastor's wife and friend, Rachel.  Even PawPaw and Mimi came into town to participate as Santa and Mrs. Claus.  Bella wasn't feeling well so Mimi stayed behind to care for her, but everyone else enjoyed the morning.  The pink fire truck was there in honor of Rachel's battle with breast cancer this year.  279 racers participated, including  Read.  Ben and I ended up doing the fun run so we could run with the kids.  Read started out running full tilt, but about three minutes in, Daddy and I were alternating ostrich rides (piggy back) with him for the remainder of the mile and a half route.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

bookshelf makeover

My cousin has blogged several times about things she has made over with chalk paint, so when Ben threatened to throw away my bookshelf I pleaded with him to try and paint it.  We found Annie Sloan paint, which is pretty pricey at a store downtown and now we must paint everything!!
Crafting is not my forte, and if it includes paint, chances are Ben has done it.  But I did this.  I painted it, and Ben roughed up the edges with sand paper.  Took about 3 hours and 1 quart of cream white paint.  We originally wanted to paint the inside of the cabinet black, but I want to use the black paint for my kitchen table instead.  We also thought since the room was kind of dark especially this corner the white would brighten it up.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

anniversary weekend

Ben has been saving for us to go on an anniversary weekend getaway since our birthday fiasco.  But, we decided to use that money towards redoing our 360 sq foot master bedroom, seeing as for the past 10 years it has kind of been the room that was neglected, laundry collected, least decorated...

I didn't take before pics b/c I thought I had an original blog post from when we moved in, yes the room has not changed in over four years.  The room was painted half a dark reddish-brown (the original color of downstairs bathroom that I hated) half khaki color.  I had the denim comforter and browns and red pillows.
We painted the walls gray, added the green comforter and shams (a Ross find), the red chaise came from Ben's office (he wants to replace with a hide-a-bed love seat sectional), blackout curtains (Ikea), remote controlled electric candles over the bed (Sam's). Ben built the shelf out of our leftover fence pickets, new bedside lamps (Ross), bookshelf (repainted from a brown one I had from Ikea), black lantern on dresser (Ikea), and floral pillow (Ross).  The pictures do not do the colors justice.  The space is so much more relaxing than the red blaring at us, plus laundry folding is not allowed in the bedroom any longer.
There are still a few touches we are wanting to do.  Trying to decide if we want a tv on the wall opposite the bed or more pictures.  We took down (
and stored) the large mirror down that was attached to my dresser, and leaned the full-length mirror that was hanging one the wall now against the wall.  I also want a new pillow on my red chaise and a new lampshade for the floor lamp behind it.
And yes, if you follow me on pinterest, we have the decorating bug.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Monty P. Mouse

This is Monty.  He is our alternative to Elf on the Shelf.  Every morning we find him encouraging us to do something kind for someone or a special activity we can do together as a family that day.
He arrived at our house on December 1st and since then we have made our pastor's family dinner, made cookies, ornaments, gone C-mas shopping, visited a nursing home, were official judges for our neighborhood lights contest, a dance party, saw the Rockin' Lights in Old Settlers Park.
The kids enjoy finding him each morning and then they return him to his bed under the Christmas tree each day.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

special house guest

This past week, my grandmother came to stay with us.  She has been a widow since before R2 was born and she mostly stays by herself.  I took her to several of the classes I teach including my Parkinson's class.  The first couple of days, the boys weren't too sure of her, but by day 3 they were taking her by the hand leading her around and even fighting over her attention.  My favorite moment of the week was when I came downstairs to find her with a firemen's hat and a pop gun shooting the boys.  She was so helpful b/c she kept my sink empty, laundry folded and entertained while the girls and I wrapped up the fall semester.  She has gone home, but we plan to have her come stay with us again after the new year.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Visit from Santa

Last week, we heard a knock at the door and then sleigh bells.  When the kids answered the door Santa Steve made an early Christmas stop.  He came bearing candy canes.  Merry Christmas

Friday, December 12, 2014

16 years and counting

Sixteen things I was happy to share with you this year (in no particular order)
1. our weekend getaway to San Antonio
2. hearing you ring the bell
3. discovering we like ceveche
4. screaming my way down the water slide at Wolf Creek Lodge
5. Brazilian steak nights
6. massages
7. home-improvement projects
8. your amazing scrambled egg concoction
9. tearing it up at the gym together
10. joining Legacy Church
11. celebrating my 40th birthday at Cheesecake Factory
12. serving on the tear-down team with you
13. your well-deserved promotion
14. time with the kids
15. shopping for smaller clothes
16. late-night episodes of Big Bang Theory, Blacklist, Downtown Abby and Person of Interest

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Seniors' C-mas Party

This past weekend was our Christmas party for the participants of the fitness classes we started at the church.  We have consistently had over 35+ participants in each class since my birthday in September.  And we have even added a class on Fridays that one of the members have become SS certified so she can teach.  We had 40 people come to our C-mas potluck where we played the Newlywed Game with our instructors, gift exchange, drew Christmas trees on our heads and almost had a fist fight over some thieving of C-mas presents.  My grandmother is staying with us this week, so she can come to my exercise classes with me.  She had an absolute blast, she picked a red scarf and was not letting it go.

Monday, December 08, 2014

co-op presentations

This past Friday was our last week of co-op for the semester.  I have anticipated Christmas break, but I am also disappointed it is already over.  The girls participated in the end of semester program with their theater classes.   Boo actually taught her class a dance she learned this past summer at VBS.  They also recited the Preamble to the Constitution and played Silent Night on the Harpsichord.
LE's class performed the Ugly Woodpecker.  LE was the ugly woodpecker, a turtle found in a woodpecker's nest.
Daddy surprised us after the program with flowers for each of his three girls.  Mimi, Gigi, PopPop and my grandmother drove to Austin for the day to enjoy the kids' accomplishments.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Star Wars birthday party for a 4 year old

R2's request this year was for a Star Wars themed-party at Gigi's.  Talk about a busy weekend, two birthday parties, two Thanksgivings, and a parade.
I wanted to do an over-the-top SW blow-out, but when it came down to it, I knew what we wanted and knew I didn't have to do the star-studded party on pinterest to make him happy.  Mimi made yummy cupcakes and he got exactly what he wanted, Darth Vader on top.  My friend Morgan's son had leftovers from his SW party, so all of the cups, napkins, plates, party favors were gifted to us.
We had noodle wars in the front yard with cousins and Uncle Troy gave him a huge Darth Vader for his new SW themed room.  Happy Jedi was he.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Christmas in Comfort

On the Saturday evening after Thanksgiving, it is our yearly tradition to head to Christmas in Comfort for the night time Christmas parade.  It is one of Mimi's favorite activities and she loves it when all of her kids attend with her.  All of the kids got night time glow wands or sabers to kick off the parade.  Our favorite floats were the Charlie Brown Christmas and Frozen float.  Lots of fun and memories each year.

Friday, December 05, 2014

60th Surprise Party

This past weekend, we were able to pull off a surprise party for Mimi's 60th birthday.  We were able to use their church's fellowship hall which had already been decorated for C-mas.  My cousin Anna loaned me frames from her event plannings which we filled with pictures from the past 60 years.  We used additional poinsettias to decorate the tables.  All of my brothers and their families were in attendance and several of her friends from church, neighbors and friends from her past were able to attend.  We served muffins, a Collins cake (from Peach Tree cookbook), deli meats, crackers and punch.
Happy 60th Birthday Mimi/Mom!