Saturday, December 31, 2016

Birthday on the Ranch

This year we had a family birthday party for Cambry at Greg's Aunt and Uncle's ranch in Dobbin, Texas. It is about 45 min away. Greg proposed to me there, and it is also where the annual Mattern Family reunion is held. My parents, Greg's parents, and the Bryants met us there for the party.

The weather forecast had shown rain all day, but thankfully it only sprinkled a tiny bit and the rest of the day the weather was great. There are front porch rocking chairs, swings, battery powered cars for the kids to drive, a fishing pond, a fort, and plenty of space to run around with cousins.

We brought lunch and snacks and chocolate cupcakes with pink and purple icing as requested by the birthday girl.

The kids also decorated gingerbread houses. Lainey wasn't interested in the actual decorating, just the eating of the candy.

Cambry opened lots of gifts and everyone enjoyed cupcakes. We had a wonderful time celebrating our big girl and thankful for the family that could be there!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Cambry 5 Years

Our first born turned 5! She is the sweetest little 5 year old ever. I loved her the moment she was born but somehow as I get to know more of who she is I love her more and more.

She goes to PreK 3 days a week 9am-2pm and does gymnastics after school once a week. She is getting really good at writing her letters. She is also starting to do some simple addition. She has a great memory and picks things up quickly.

Cambry is such a sweetheart. She is a great helper, and a wonderful big sister. She loves to please. She is so smart and has the best imagination. She loves to talk. Her stories about made up characters (lately it is Pearly, Everly, Tulip, and Kristally) go on and on and on. She is a rule follower and likes others to know and follow the rules as well. She is a perfectionist, especially when it comes to drawing and crafts. Although it is ironic (and adorable) that she says "perfec". She does NOT like for her hands to be dirty/sticky/messy. She will find a way to eat almost anything with a fork and always requires a napkin with a little "wet water". She is still very opinionated about clothes. Sometimes when I try to get her to wear something she doesn't want to she will give the excuse "I'm just not used to that". She is a picky eater but has actually gotten a little better lately. She is also a super slow eater. Mainly because she likes to cuddle at the table and create a "loveseat" with her chair and whoever she is sitting next to while playing I Spy and the animal guessing game. She shares a room with Lainey and they go to bed between 7:30 and 8. Cambry likes to hear real life stories before bed and then after we tuck her in she stalls by asking to do chores.

Our girl likes to play with dollhouse people, can spend hours playing with her magnets and stickers (arranging the characters and making up stories of course), likes to draw and do crafts, likes to play outside on her bike, and loves anything involving princesses. 

Here are the questions I have asked her the last couple of years. Her answers haven't changed that much from last year.

Favorite color: purple, pink, and teal

Favorite food: peanut butter and jelly, and chocolate

Favorite movie: Frozen

Favorite thing to do with Daddy: Snuggle and cuddle (she also loves to wrestle him)

Favorite thing to do with Mommy: help mommy cook and be mommy's little helper

Favorite thing to do with Lainey: play and dress up

Favorite thing to do with Colon: play the game where I take his lovie back and forth and he laughs

Favorite toy: dresser and treasure box

Favorite store: ToysRUs

What do you want to do when you grow up: help mommy cook

Favorite princess: Anna, Elsa, Aurora, Ariel, and Rapunzel

Favorite animal: pony and unicorn

Happy Birthday sweet Cambry! We love you!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

First Woodlands Christmas

This was the first Christmas in our new home and it was the best ever. Christmas as a kid is magical, but Christmas with kids is just as much fun. I enjoy seeing the kids' excitement and joy over everything. It was a wonderful time to spend together as a family. 

I have 2 friends who both lost a child this year and I think about them often. I kept thinking how hard and painful the holidays must be for them. Although this Christmas was wonderful for us this year, we might not have a joyful Christmas every year. Some may be filled with pain. I have been continually thankful this holiday season that I am surrounded by family. Especially these 3 that make Christmas SO MUCH FUN. 

We had planned to go to the 6pm Christmas Eve service at church but over the last few days Lainey and Colton had gotten bad coughs and runny noses. So we decided to stay home instead.

Our neighbors have the tradition of decorating sugar cookies on Christmas Eve with their grand daughters and they invited the kids to join. I took Cambry since the littles were a bit sick.

Each year on Christmas Eve the neighbors on our cul-de-sac put luminaries out, set up a fire pit and all gather round and hang out. They started setting up in the late afternoon. I listened to Christmas music while I prepped a breakfast casserole and watched the neighbors and kids playing outside.  It was the perfect Christmas Eve.

At dark we went outside and spent a little time with the neighbors. All Colton wanted to do was walk straight toward the fire pit. When it was almost bed time we changed the kids into their jammies, brought the hot chocolate, and set off to look for Christmas lights. When we got back home 2 out of 3 were asleep.

Christmas morning Cambry woke up first and then stayed in the play room patiently waiting for Lainey to wake up.When Lainey finally woke up we let them come in the living room to see what Santa brought. Then we waited for Gigi, Pa, and Ashley to arrive so we could eat breakfast together and then open gifts,

We took our time opening the presents. Cambry loved playing with her new toys so much that she was perfectly content to not continue opening gifts. So we actually saved a couple gifts for the next day because she was so busy.

My parents and Ashley left around lunch time. We let the kids play outside a little (it was about 80 degrees!) and then later that afternoon we headed over to my parents house. We celebrated my mom's birthday with presents, chili (thanks Greg!), and cheesecake.

So thankful for a very Merry Christmas!

Christmas in Waco

Christmas fell on a Sunday this year so the Wednesday before Christmas we headed to Waco. We celebrated Anderson's (early) 4th birthday by going to a trampoline park. The kids all loved it. Well, except for Colton who stayed home with Nana.

Thursday the guys left early to go hunting. Jill and I took the kids to the Children's museum in the morning. We came home for lunch and then our crew napped. We mostly hung around the house the rest of the day and the guys got back that evening. 

Friday morning after breakfast we had the Mattern Christmas. The kids were so excited about all the gifts. We had a nice lunch and then the girls did a little shopping. We hit up Magnolia market and a couple other stores. Magnolia has added so much outdoor fun since I visited last year. It is such a cute place.

One night we went looking at Christmas lights (my favorite!) and there were some amazing houses. There were even photo props and fake snow at one house.

And I think we set a new record this trip as we had 3 game nights in a row after the kids went to bed!

We had a wonderful time in Waco and the kids absolutely loved it. We were sad to leave Saturday, but we packed up and headed out early to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas day at home.

Jingle All the Way Part II

Whad our first family Christmas movie night this year. The girls have been watching all the Mickey Christmas shows on Netflix but we hadn't sat down to watch anything as a family. So after dinner and pajamas we snuggled on the couch and all watched Polar Express for the first time. Colton actually sat with us for quite a while. Then he played some and we put him to bed. The girls sat perfectly still and engaged in the movie the whole time. Toward the end Lainey suddenly shouted out "Santa!". This will definitely be a tradition.

We went to a Christmas party with a bunch of friends from our old church. It was fun to see everyone again after several months. The kids played on the playground, the big kids bowled, they had lunch, and did a book exchange. All 3 of them fell asleep on the way home.

My parents invited me with them to participate in Wreaths Across America Day. All over the US thousands of volunteers lay wreaths on the graves of veterans to honor them. It was really neat and overwhelming to think of how many people have fought for our country.

Earlier this month the Compassion Experience came through Magnolia. They set up rooms you walk through that look like small houses or school rooms of a child living in poverty in various parts of the world. You can wear headphones and listen to the story of someone who experienced that and was helped by Compassion. I am not sure if Cambry really understood everything but it was still a good thing to do and a reminder of so many needs around the world and how we can help.

I'll do a separate post on our Christmas celebrations. It has been a wonderful December!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Family Pics

The very talented Amy of Lovebird Photographie took our family pictures again this year and did a fabulous job. This was one of the first cool days we had so the girls were actually shivering. It felt like we weren't getting any good pictures during the session but they ended up turning out great. I love having pictures of us together and the kids at these ages.