Texas with the Ray’s!

December 19th was Cory Ray’s wedding.  We were so excited to be able to attend it!  It meant catching up with Cory, and sharing in his special day with his new bride Hannah, and also seeing Mark and Karen, whom we hadn’t seen in a really long time!  Win, Win.

The wedding was in Corpus Christi, which meant a LONG trip to Southern Texas for the wedding, on route to Wisconsin for Christmas. Loose, Loose!  It was not the most fun part of our vacation.

All told we clocked 3,645 miles –  5,832 kms over our two week Christmas break!  (Those number are straight from Scott, so you know they’re accurate – as if I would know down to the mile/km!)  We are definitely getting out and seeing this country!

It was great to catch up with Mark and Karen, and also catch up with all the kids (now adults, with kids of their own – so much fun!).

Cory and Hannah. Mark performed the Ceremony.

 

Scott and Faith at the Reception

 

Scott, Sharon, Mark and Karen! It was SO great to see them!

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Our Baby is Nine – Emma’s special Day!

Ten years ago, we found out that we were pregnant.  We were VERY unprepared for being parents.  We had only be married for 9 months, and had planned to wait a couple of years before having a baby.  However, God had other plans for us, and we wouldn’t have had it any other way!

Emma was born at 2pm on the 12th of December, and our lives changed forever that day.  She made me a Mum.  It’s the best gift I’ve ever been given.  Being her Mum has made me a better person!  I love her in a crazy way!

Emma is a great kid, and I’m not just saying that because she’s mine!  She truly is a wonderful person – despite Scott and I needing training wheels as parents!  Emma is turning into a brilliant young lady.

Emma decided that she wanted to have a sleep over with some of her close friends, so here are some photos of the fun that the girls had together!

Thanks to everyone who sent Birthday wishes, or called Emma for her Birthday – she loved getting the attention!  Love to you all.

Emma with her new "E" bag - how cute is that!

Emma opening presents.

From left - Isabella, Faith, Emma, Chandleigh and Skylar.

 

Cupcakes for dessert.

 

Happy Birthday Baby!

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O Christmas Tree

Okay, so any of you who know me a bit, will know that I’m a LITTLE bit particular about my Christmas tree.  That may be an understatement, but there it is.

We have always had a fake tree, because I like my tree to be perfect – no gaps, not lop sided, pretty as can be.  So, fake tree was the way to go for me.

This year, being our first Christmas in the US, I was on the hunt for a good fake tree, but I was having no luck.  On one such disappointing afternoon, on my way home from the mall, I drove past a Christmas tree sales area.  They were real trees, and they were beautiful!  I was transfixed!  I stopped and checked them out – they were perfect!!!!  There were two little old men selling the trees, and they couldn’t have been more charming, making the whole experience even more fun!

The girls and I went and picked up a tree the next night.  The two lovely men helped us tie it to the roof of the car, and then off we went home where Scott was waiting to bring it inside.  We had fun getting it all set up and decorated.  And yes, it’s decorated with popcorn and candy canes – only red and white!  I may have bought a real tree, but some things will always stay the same!

Emma and the tree!

Faith and her new friend "spot", and the tree!

The girls putting the lights on the tree.

Emma all aglow.

Dad helps Faith with the top of the tree.

 

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Weekend in Mississippi

This last weekend we went to Mississippi with some friends from church. Powers and Taylor Lane, and their daughters Serenity (10) and London (almost 2) invited us to spend the weekend at Taylor’s parents home in a small town called Columbus.

We packed up and headed off on Friday afternoon, with very specific instructions from Taylor on how to find their home. She was slightly concerned that we wouldn’t be able to find the house in the dark. With instructions in hand we headed toward small town Mississippi!

The instructions were great, and we found the house with only one small misstep, and made it in plenty of time for a delicious meal of Chicken Spaghetti Friday evening! It was the start of an amazing weekend!

We rode the four wheeler, fed the horses, found fresh water clams in the lake, and picked pecans! It was so much fun.

Scott went off on a big Southern adventure with Powers on Saturday night, and adventured out to a college football game. He had a great night, and even found himself really getting into the game at a couple of crucial moments! Who would have guessed?

We really enjoyed spending the weekend away, but the best bit of all was getting to know our new friends better! It was great. Here are lots of photos to show just how much fun we had! Happy viewing y’all!

My boy and my girls! Ah!

Scott giving the kids a ride on the gate!

 

The girls in a tree next to the pond.

 

We managed to get a smile out of Emma, even though she was up a tree and a bit nervous!

 

The girls looking for fresh water mussels. I know you can't see them, but I liked the photo!

 

Serenity and Faith. Faith LOVED the four wheeler! The faster the better!

 

Faith and I having a cuddle while picking pecans.

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Where are we again?

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Doughnuts – is there anything they don’t go with?

Yes, that’s a doughnut dressed with bacon.

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Halloween Party

Okay, so we’re Aussies, right? Well, we were completely unprepared for the Halloween madness that is October in the US! It is crazy here people! I can not believe that people spend so much time and money on such a ridiculous event! Sorry to all of you who love this holiday and embrace it openly, but I just don’t get it. It’s a personal opinion, so don’t go getting all mad at all Australians just because one of us (and let’s be honest, how Australian am I really? It’s been disputed so many times in my life, where I’m from – the joy of being an MK – but there it is, on my birth certificate) has a negative opinion on the subject!

However, that being said, our friends R and S were throwing a nice big juicy party out at the Farm, and we were honoured to be invited, and had a great time – albeit with a few hiccups along the way.

Faith getting her princess makeup on! She was VERY excited!

Batgirl, and Rupunzel! They were gorgeous.

Hiccups? Oh yes. I don’t think we really prepared our girls for what people did on Halloween! Oops. They still seem to be sleeping okay, so I think we’re good! Faith went down to the barn at the farm, and came back stating in a most distressed voice, “The barn is creepy Mom!” (Yes, Mom – I have ceased to be “Mum”. I must admit that I love it no matter how it’s pronounced, so there it is!) I proceeded to try and explain that it was meant to be that way, and it was a bit hard for her to understand that it had been done on purpose! Hiccup number one.

Hiccup number two. Faith ended up in tears at the end of a game (scary, of course, but not too bad for the little ones), because she didn’t know what to do, and everyone was looking at her! Scary enough, without the assistance of costumes, let’s be honest! We managed to calm her down – candy, of course, but she could not be persuaded to join in the game of finding and building a skeleton. Don’t blame her.

Hiccup number three – the pinata. Each of the kids got to have a turn hitting the pinata, except for Emma. Poor little Emma is so timid that she kind of got pushed out of the way by some excited boys who, of course, hit the pinata with all the pent up aggression that 10 year old boys manage to store, breaking it before she got a turn. That’s when it started to go downhill. She was slightly upset by this, a bit teary, but not out of control – problem dodged? Not hardly! Then there was the mad dash for the candy, when all the kids (except Emma), happily pounced on the floor and grabbed greedily as quickly as they could, all the candy their little hands, tops, masks, whatever they had on hand, could hold. Except Emma. She proceed to scream hysterically, “there’s kids all over the candy, there’s kids everywhere!” Sob, sob, sob, hiccup, sob. It was not pretty, civilised, age appropriate, you name it, it was not it! God bless that girl, she really knows how to make a scene! Must get it from her Dad! Ha. We removed her from the scene of the crime and managed to calm her down enough to get her some candy! Phew.

The night ended with a fun hay ride around the property for the little kids, and a scary one through the woods for the older kids. A great night was had by all. I was so impressed with all the work that our friends put in to make it an enjoyable night for all! Batgirl (Emma) and Rupunzel (Faith) had a great time (hiccups aside), and on the way home in the car Faith decided, “Mom, we should go back there tomorrow and play!” All was well in the world.

Emma looking quite pleased with her choice of costume.

The most beautiful princess ever!

My friend Stacy and I. She's Alice, and I'm the too cheap to buy a costume lady!

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There was supposed to be an earth-shattering ‘Hip Hip, Hooray’!

We’ve made some good friends through church, through a small group that we’ve been going to on Saturday mornings. (Which we think has really saved us with regard to church.)

This last Saturday night there was a birthday party for one of the guys from the small group, and we were invited. It was a great time to sit and enjoy a meal with some of the people that we’ve been getting to know. The kids have really hit it off and ran around crazy – particularly after enjoying the cake.

However, I experienced a serious case of culture shock, and it surprised me.

It came to the time of the night to sing Happy Birthday, and as the final ‘… to you’ rang out, I took in a breath to belt out a boisterous “Hip, Hip! Hooray.” But everyone there, just started clapping. There was no “Hip, Hip! Hooray”. There’s supposed to be a “Hip, Hip! Hooray”.

It felt like a great injustice had been done, that the celebration wasn’t complete yet.

All that aside, we are making good friends, enjoying getting to know people and sharing life’s celebrations with them.

But where have the “Hip, Hip! Hoorays” gone?

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Faith’s Monster Play

Last Thursday Faith’s class put on a play for the other kindergarten classes, and any parents that were able to make it. It was fun to see Faith at school, and meet some of her friends!

Faith was in the Purple Monster group.

Faith and her friend Nandini

I then went and sat with her while she had her lunch. This week Faith was the Mayor of the class, so that meant that she got to lead the class to lunch, and carry the class basket.

Faith doing her "mayor for the week" duties! She was proud as punch!

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Sick Baby

Faith was up through the night sick, so she spent a quiet day at home. She wasn’t too sick, but needed to spend the day at home anyway, just in case. I spent most of the day trying to keep her on the couch, and convince her eating everything out the fridge wasn’t a great idea! It was fun having a day with her, but I think we were both ready for her to go back to school the next day!

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