Sunday, December 26, 2010

Our 2010 Family Christmas

We had a low-key Christmas celebration this year with my parents and Connor and Kaitlynn while the older boys celebrated with their Mom. We toured some neighborhoods with pretty Christmas lights, feasted on our favorite Mexican food, and enjoyed some quality time with MeMe and Granddaddy in Houston.

(Her look says it all - Christmas is SO much fun!)

After MeMe and Granddaddy returned home, Santa came (one day late) to the Courtright household so that we could celebrate after the boys returned from their Mom's house.

Connor very carefully set out some carrots (for Santa's reindeer), cookies, and milk before the Big Guy's arrival.

Here's the scene right after Santa's visit.

Connor said it was the "best Christmas EVER" and immediately loved his Woody doll. He even had to write his name on Woody's boot right away.

All 4 kids managed to make the "nice" list this year, so it was a very successful Christmas.

I feel the need to explain one of the Christmas gifts you may have seen in the photos. Yes, it was a dog carrier. An extra LARGE dog crate. And it was a gift from Santa to Kaitlynn. Let me explain. Our neighbor had the carrier out in her driveway one day recently and several of the neighborhood kids were playing in it. Kaitlynn discovered it and immediately began playing in it. She LOVED it! Our neighbor told us she was selling it and Jeff and I looked at each other like, "Hmmm. Christmas gift??" We didn't think much about it until we brought it home to clean it and get it ready. Both of the older boys looked at us like we had lost our marbles. And then I mentioned it to my mother who immediately said, "Uh, Lauri, do I need to call CPS out there??" So just to clarify...Yes, we pressure-washed and bleached out the cage, and No, we don't intend to lock the kids in the dog crate. And come on, just look at how much they love it!

The older boys are with us all week and we have our next Christmas celebration at my parents' later this week with the Morgan side of the family. So stay tuned for more Christmas fun!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Randomness

There has been so much going on around here for the holidays that I thought I would throw lots of random pictures together in a single post. So here goes!

The other night Jeff took all 4 kids around the neighborhood to look at Christmas lights.

A couple weeks ago our Houston Texans played at home for Monday Night Football. Jeff and I were so excited to get a babysitter so that we could go to the game together without kids. Woohoo! The game was a blast but the loss in overtime, well, not so much. As Connor says, "There's always next year!"

Last week Connor had his preschool Christmas program. His class combined with the other pre-K classes to sing some songs for the parents. It was very sweet but unfortunately my video camera was on the fritz and so I didn't get any video.

And here's Connor standing on the back row during the program. I cracked up when I saw this picture because the kids look so enthused - NOT!

A quick pic of Connor and Mommy at his class party.

And finally, here's a picture of Connor with his awesome teachers, Mrs. Day and Ms. Mory. Love them!!

I haven't opened a single Christmas present yet, but I can already tell you what my favorite gift this year will be: My new living room cabinets! We have niches in our living room on either side of the fireplace. They were just empty spaces before and I never knew what to do with them. I've wanted built-in cabinets ever since we moved in and I finally got them this year, thanks to my generous hubby and a great deal from our contractor. Here's a quick before and after photo. Merry Christmas to me! :-)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Polar Express at the Library

We are staying so busy with Christmas activities that I can barely keep up! This week the kids and I joined our Moms group and visited the library. All the kids got to wear their pajamas and hear a reading of The Polar Express. Then they decorated cookies and made a Christmas craft. It was a fun outing for us, especially since we rarely visit the library these days.

I think the kids' favorite part of the morning was wearing their pajamas for the entire day. Kaitlynn was able to wear some special Christmas pajamas with a red tutu, and of course she had to pose for a picture after putting them on.

On the way into the library... Connor and Kaitlynn still love to hold hands everywhere they go. I can't resist snapping their picture.

Here are the kids listening to The Polar Express. What a fun Christmas story!

Connor decorated a cookie while Kaitlynn enjoyed her own cookie snack from home.

Kaitlynn enjoyed playing with Connor's Christmas craft (a sleigh ornament).

After storytime, we went into the main children's section of the library and played for a bit. Here they are enjoying the puzzles.

Thank goodness for fun Christmas activities to keep the kids occupied during their school holiday!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Best Buddies

More Christmas fun! This week we got together with Connor's best friend, Benjamin, and his family to enjoy some quality playtime and let the kids exchange gifts. I thought it would be neat to share the story of how our families met.

Connor attended a daycare downtown (Creme de la Creme) for 3 years before I began staying at home. He started daycare when he was only 11 weeks old. I didn't know it at the time, but one of his baby classmates in the infant room was none other than Benjamin, born just days after Connor.

As the boys got older and started moving to different classrooms together, I started running into Benjamin's sweet Mom, Julie, at several of the kids' parties. I think our boys had just moved into the toddler area when Julie came up to me in the hallway. She asked, "Are you Connor's Mom?" I said I was, and she introduced herself and said, "Well I just want you to know, I think Connor is THE CUTEST baby I've ever seen!" Little did I know that Julie loved plump babies, and we all know that Connor was probably the chunkiest baby any of us have ever seen!

It was around that time that the toddler teachers started sharing stories with Julie and I about how well Connor and Benjamin played together during the day, and that they were always together and the best of friends. They LOVED each other and of course Julie and I couldn't have been happier! I don't know who has been more blessed by their friendship, the boys or their Mommies!

This was probably the first picture I ever took of Connor and Benjamin together, right about the time they turned 2 years old. Aren't they precious?

So back to Christmas...we had such a blast visiting Benjamin and his brother Timothy and sister Lily at their home. The boys were probably most excited about driving and riding in their Jeep. Awesome!

Kaitlynn was too little to ride the Jeep, but she found another fun toy so she was happy.

I couldn't resist taking a picture of precious Lily and her sweet Mommy. I don't know what's cuter, Lily's flower or those precious tights!

And now on to the exciting part of the evening - the presents!

The kids had so much fun playing and sharing gifts. Yet another wonderful Christmas activity in this busy holiday season!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Dad's Night Out

This post is WAY overdue! In October Connor's preschool hosted the annual Dad's Night Out for all the kids and their Dads. Unfortunately Connor didn't make it this year because we were out of town. He was pretty upset initially, but then we promised him that he could have his very own Dad's Night Out, just he and Jeff, and they could do whatever they wanted -- no girls allowed! So of course, Connor was super excited about that idea and began planning their night. First, he gave Jeff his "All About Dad" paper. This is where the teachers ask the kids questions about their Dad and write down their responses verbatim. I think Jeff was pleased by the age and hair color responses:

Here are the boys heading to their Dads Night Out. Can't you see the excitement?

Connor selected the fine eating establishment of Burger King for his Dads Night Out meal, and then they went to see the movie Tangled at the movie theater.

Connor was pooped when he got home and went straight to bed. I'd say it was a successful night!

Friday, December 17, 2010

18 Months

Guess who turned 18 months this week?!

Here's the latest on the baby girl of the family.

Some of her new words include: cheese, juice, banana ("nana"), cracker, and Olivia (her new favorite show, which I happen to think is very cute). Probably her most frequently used phrase is "All done!" She also has learned to use the signs for "please" and "thank you".

At this age, Kaitlynn is so much fun and really growing into her unique personality. She seems to enjoy having a job, like if I ask her to throw away some trash or go put her toys away. She is a very sociable little girl and LOVES her Mother's Day Out more than I ever imagined she would. Yay!

We got the little potty down from the attic recently and Kaitlynn has been sitting on it before her bath each night, just to get used to the idea. No "activity" has occurred yet, in case you were wondering. :-)

Kaitlynn has been doing great with her sleep habits. She usually sleeps 12 hours each night (7 to 7) and about a 2-hour nap in the afternoon. And she has slept great in all the strange beds with all the traveling we've been doing lately. That is such a change from this time last year so I couldn't be happier!

Kaitlynn is wearing size 24 months and just graduated into size 6 diapers. She is 31.25 inches long (50th percentile) and weighs 26 pounds (75th percentile). Compare that to Connor, who at this age was finally leveling off: he was 33 inches long and 31 pounds.

Her new thing is to pose for a picture when we get dressed every morning. I put on her outfit, fix her hair, and then she runs straight for the toy room where she stands against the wall and actually says "cheese" for a picture. Have I created a monster? :-)

Kaitlynn is definitely a handful, but I thank God for her everyday! Here are a few shots from her 18-month portraits:

She actually posed for this one.

What's in the box?

Let's see here...

Well it must be something funny, that's for sure!

Last picture...can I just say, I see this mischievious look on her face about 100 times a day!