Thursday, February 26, 2015

Wrapping up 2014

Finally, it's time to close the chapter on 2014 with some final updates and photos. Gotta love the miscellaneous catch-up posts!

Back in early December, I was preparing for a gathering or two in our home and very quickly ran out of space in our fridge for food. With the case of water bottles, never-ending supply of Diet Mountain Dew, kids' yogurt drinks, and maybe an adult beverage or two, there was just never enough room for actual food. So I decided that I wanted a second refrigerator for our garage as my Christmas gift. We didn't need anything fancy, and we found an old one on Craigslist that was perfect. After having it now for a couple months, I'm wondering how we managed without it!

My refrigerator delivery men.

Also in December, the flu had its way with our household. Kaitlynn was the first victim, followed by Connor, then Jeff, and then me. I've never seen anything like it! It was our first experience with the flu ever, well, except for the time Jeff caught the swine flu back a few years ago. And I hesitate to point this out, but I can't help it so here goes:

Kaitlynn with the flu: missed 3 days of school and fever spiked at 103.
Connor with the flu: missed 2 days of school and fever reached 102.
Jeff with the flu: missed 1 day of work, slept for 2 days, and fever reached about 102.
ME with the flu: popped some Advil, fever didn't get above 100, finished up Christmas shopping, wrapped about 2 dozen presents, and continued on as usual.

Yep, that's about how it goes, right?! ;-)

Passed out from the flu.

Sick Sweet Daddy.

On the last day of school before their Winter Break, the kids' had early release so we celebrated by going out to see a movie. Big Hero 6 was really cute! It was fun because the kids wear still wearing their pajamas (for Polar Express day at school) so we felt like rebels when we were out and about.

Big Hero 6!

Early in December, Kaitlynn got on a kick where she started cleaning her room everyday. She would even make the bed! She was super proud of herself and of course, I rewarded her with some money each time to try to encourage the good habit. I guess this girl isn't motivated by money, because the good habit lasted about 3 days!

Proud of herself for a job well done.

It wouldn't be a wrap-up post without mentioning our beloved Houston Texans team and the good season they had last year. With many changes and even a new coach, we really enjoyed the season and especially watching our favorite player, J.J. Watt.

Connor's favorite place to be!

She gets her own seat now but she can still be found in Sweet Daddy's lap!
Our family all went to the last Texans game in December (minus Collin so Kevin brought along his buddy Caleb). We had a great time at the game, and we even managed to find ourselves on the Jump Cam! The video below shows our entire section with the Courtrights front and center!
And one last update for 2014. I haven't mentioned it here on the blog, but 2014 was quite the transitional year for Collin. After completing his spring semester last year at UT-San Antonio, he moved in with us in Katy while working at a firm in the area for a summer internship. When that job concluded, he decided not to return to school. He has really struggled finding his path forward, and he worked a few jobs last fall while trying to figure things out. He was presented with an opportunity to move to North Dakota to work for a firm on their onshore oil rigs doing pipeline work, so Collin made the decision to give it a shot.
After the holidays, Collin embarked on his 3-day journey to Williston, ND and immediately began doing miscellaneous warehouse and pipeline work up there. Since then he has been working a ton and seems to be doing good on his own. Only time will tell! But in the meantime, he has endured some seriously cold weather. On one of his first mornings there, our temperature here in Katy was about 50 degrees. Connor wondered what the temperature in Williston was, and when he looked at the Weather Channel app on my phone, it said -26! Yes, MINUS 26 degrees!! I couldn't even begin to imagine enduring a temperature that was 75 degrees colder than where we were (while I was bundled up just for 50 degrees)!

Pic of Collin before his 3-day trip to North Dakota.
Connor's face after seeing the ND weather forecast.


Monday, February 23, 2015

2014 Courtright Family Christmas

After our Morgan family Christmas gathering in White Oak, we returned to Katy to await Collin and Kevin's arrival for our Courtright family Christmas.

The Courtright clan.

The biggest event of this year's celebration revolved around our family's Elf, Jexan. Since this was our first year with Jexan, we weren't sure what to expect. But on the last morning before Santa arrived, Connor and Kaitlynn awoke to a fun surprise from Jexan. It was a letter printed from the Elf himself, thanking them for their good behavior and leaving them with a little breakfast treat.

Jexan's letter and treat for the kids.

I'd say Jexan was quite the hit in our home for his first Christmas season. For the first week after his return to the North Pole, Kaitlynn would spontaneously burst into tears from missing him so much. And as I type this, it is nearing the end of February and Kaitlynn STILL mentions Jexan's absence regularly. How will we ever make it until next Christmas?!

Twas' the night before Christmas...

Setting out the cookies and milk for Santa, and the carrots for Santa's reindeer!

Sometimes Christmas seems like an eternity here at the Courtright house since we celebrate later with the older boys. But it finally arrived and Santa was, as usual, very good to our family.

Santa's delivery.

It was quite a haul!

The kids were overjoyed at their Christmas haul and couldn't wait to dig in. Of course, when you have to wait for much older brothers to wake up and get out of bed, it can be an agonizing morning. Collin and Kevin weren't too happy about waking up at 7 am, and they can't wait to return the favor in the years to come when Connor and Kaitlynn become the sleepyheads, ha!

First up, time to open stockings!

Jeff's oversized Reese's peanut butter cups. 1 pound of candy!

Kevin opens one of his gifts.

Collin planning his revenge on Connor and Kaitlynn for waking him up so early!

Kaitlynn LOVED her Frozen suitcase.

Connor digging into his stocking.

One of my many gifts!

It wouldn't be Christmas without the classic surprise face!

Here's another one. Love the expressions!

Her new Frozen dress (while wearing her new Frozen outfit). It was a FROZEN Christmas!

Kevin immediately got to work on his car installing his Christmas gifts. Boys and their cars!

It was another successful Christmas in the Courtright household and we are extremely thankful that we were able to have our entire family together to celebrate!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Morgan Family Christmas

After our fun visit in the Dallas area, we drove straight to White Oak for the Christmas gathering on the Morgan side of the family. Everyone gathers at my parents' home on Christmas Eve for lots of food and fun gift exchanges, and the cousins disappear for hours at a time soaking in some long overdue fun together. This year we really missed Renee and Ryah. It's never the same when they aren't with us, but we plan to make up for it when we get together in the summer.

First up at the Morgan Christmas, photo sessions with lots of smiles all around.

Makenna took our picture. Merry Christmas!

The 4 Morgan brothers, rarely all together so we have to take a picture!

The Morgan/Courtright/Warhurst couples.

Never get enough cousin time with Robin. BCFs (best cousins forever)!

The Morgan girls. SO awesome to visit with my cousin Meredith this trip!

Another fun couple photo.

My sister Michelle with Augustus Maximus, a.k.a. Gus.

Michelle and Chris

My brother Jeb with his wife Alli.

Next up: Presents! And once the gifts are opened, the kids all run off and leave the grownups with lots of time to (what else?) eat and catch up.

Kaitlynn and Marissa, always having fun together!

Princess Kaitlynn and Princess Grandaddy!

Time for presents!

Connor got some Minecraft books.

Connor and Makenna working on their Minecraft strategies.

Kaitlynn got a princess Snuggie!


Craft time. Kaitlynn could SO EASILY be one of the MMM (Makenna, Madison, Marissa) sisters!

More Minecraft.

Grandaddy is an avid coin collector and passed on some of his collections to the grandkids.

MeMe with her customized charm necklace - a birthstone for each of the grands!

Uncle Jeb.

This was the Christmas of Frozen gifts, and every single one brought huge smiles!

MeMe and Grandaddy got a canvas photo from Ben and Charlotte's wedding. LOVE!

Couldn't resist throwing this in here. Gotta love how the Morgan boys try to "disguise" the good gifts by concealing them in women's bags. Paul didn't seem to mind at all!

I am so thankful for our Morgan family celebrations every year. We are so blessed with such a big, fun family and I look forward to these gatherings year after year.