Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Snow!

For the third time this winter, we've enjoyed beautiful snow. I honestly can't think of the last time it snowed this often, and we're certainly loving it. Brian snapped this photo last night... our own little winter wonderland.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Eve

We spent a wonderful Christmas Eve at Aunt Claudia's house. It was a perfect time, except for the teeny, tiny fact that Charlie was stuck on I-20 in a snowstorm. That's right! He spent the night in his car (yes, I mean he slept) on the highway. We're thankful that he made it home safe and sound. I'm thinking about buying him a tackle box full of protein bars to keep in his car just to be safe.
Jackson's first Christmas Eve!


Candy Cane Caroline opening gifts.



Ahh, newlyweds.


As is tradition, Jackson had his picture taken with our family Rudolph.

Sweet cousins!


Claudia's tree was so beautiful! She decorated it with black and white photos from Christmases past. It was so fun to take a look back.

Some of the gang.
Papa with his pile of gifts.
My sweet kiddoes, snug and sleepy in their Christmas jammies.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Forts

The other day Big Sister Caroline built a fort for Jackson and her to play in. Of course, Jackson loved it, and I think the whole concept of a fort stuck with him... see below for why I think so.


Caroline took a blanket, a pillow, the couch and a chair and turned it into Little Brother's first fort.


This morning Little Brother eyed this table, scooted himself underneath it, and decided to make a fort for himself.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Butt Sketch

We had a great time at Brian's holiday office party this year. The food was excellent and the conversation was fun. During the cocktail hour, they announced that a butt sketcher was there to sketch people. I know what you're thinking... we thought the same thing, "A butt sketcher???" Turns out that's just the trendy term used for sketching someone from behind. Anyway, we took our turn, and I think it turned out pretty nice.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Polar Express

Caroline went to school in her pajamas this morning! She has been learning about trains this month, and today is a super-special event. All of the kids get to wear their jammies and bring their favorite animal to read The Polar Express. They'll sip on hot chocolate during storytime and eat some yummy treats. Then the big moment will happen.... SANTA CLAUS is surprising them with an in-class visit. I can't wait to hear all about it!


Caroline in her Christmas jammies with Olivia ready for school.

I also wanted to blog about Caroline's Thanksgiving feast at school, but I'm a little tardy in doing so. It was such a fun day! I was assigned a great group of kids. We went to 5 different stations, and I helped them complete tasks to prepare the feast.


The kids made necklaces from wooden beads and pasta shapes.


Then they snapped green beans.


They even got to make their own mini pumpkin pies! Here is Caroline stirring hers up.



We shucked corn and then the teachers cooked it, so the kids got to eat the very corn they prepared!



They cut up grapes for the fruit salad.



The 3's class dressed as pilgrims, and the 4's class dressed as Indians.



Here is Caroline enjoying her corn.


The feast was truly a feast!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Sugar Plum Fairy Tea

Caroline is getting her first taste of The Nutcracker this year! Brian and I are taking her to see the ballet tomorrow, but to get her ready for it Grandmama and I took her to a tea party - the Sugar Plum Fairy Tea. It was a fun treat. Mother Ginger walked us all through the story of the Nutcracker and introduced us to the ballet's key characters, who were there in full costume. It was a room full of little girls in their Christmas party dresses, definitely a festive event. Here are some pics we snapped.

Caroline and me in our dresses ready for her first tea party!



We met Grandmama at the tea.

Mother Ginger told us the story of The Nutcracker and introduced the ballerinas.



Mom and I drank tea, but Caroline opted for pink lemonade. They actually decorated the sugar cubes with gold flecks, so that when you sweetened your tea it glittered with gold. Very fun.



They gave us a HUGE plate of goodies and everything was delicious. It could have been sugar overload, but they balanced it nicely with some savory bites.


Caroline was able to meet the ballerinas. Here she is with the Sugar Plum Fairy herself. I can't wait until she gets to see the actual ballet tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Let it snow!

We woke up to snow this morning! Such fun! Brian shot some footage of what our street looked like from our front porch. What a fabulous start to December... I'm hoping that there are snowmen and snow angels in store for us this winter.

video

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy

Let the Christmas countdown begin!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thankful

It is in the quiet moments of the each day, feeding Jackson, snuggling with Caroline at bedtime, watching TV in the dark with Brian after the kids are in bed, that I am most conscious of the fullness of my life. I find that every time I take a moment to slow down, I can always think of at least one new thing that I am grateful for. Tomorrow we will sit down with friends and family to share a meal and give thanks. But I think that before our head hits the pillow each night, we should pause and genuinely give the Lord thanks for what the day He made has given us.

With a heart full of love and gratitude, Good Night and Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Salad time

This morning, I picked our first cucumber from the garden. A salad is definitely calling its name.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Finley Higgins, this one's for you!

To my beloved Finley Higgins



Hugs & kisses,
Caroline

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Friday, November 6, 2009

7-months-old and it shows

Jackson turned 7-months-old last week, and it seems like he's growing by leaps and bounds. He is trying so hard to crawl... it is really fun to watch him try. And Caroline, ever the encouraging big sister, gets down on all fours to demonstrate just how he should do it. So sweet! He was introduced to his first taste of meat last night: strained chicken and apples. He loved it and ate it all up. And another first... this week at the park, Jackson took his first big boy ride on the swings. What a cutie!

video

Thursday, November 5, 2009

My little Olivia

Caroline went dressed as Olivia the pig for her school's Fall Fun Day last week. The kids picked pumpkins from a pumpkin patch and decorated them. The school rented a bounce house for them. Cinderella showed up for a special story time, and there was a cupcake party at the end of the day. Such fun!


Isn't she adorable?


One of the moms made the cutest cupcakes for the party. She used marshmallows and different types of candy to make kooky and spooky cupcakes. Caroline got one that looked like an eyeball.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Duffield Roast

Glen and Mary sent us home from Illinois with a lovely Duffield chuck roast. We packed it in ice, and it made the 15 hour drive home just fine. I wanted to make something extra delicious with it, since the meat is so tender and yummy, so I decided on the boeuf bourguignon recipe from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

In the book's foreword Julia writes, "This is a book for the servantless American cook who can be unconcerned on occasion with budgets, waistlines, time schedules, children's meals, the parent-chauffeur-den-mother syndrome, or anything else which might interfere with the enjoyment of producing something wonderful to eat."

I have read that sentence more than once straight from the book, but was I going to heed her advice? Of course not! Instead, I dove head-first into making boeuf bourguignon on a day when I needed to drive Caroline to and from preschool, needed to buy the ingredients, and would need to feed Jackson throughout the day until Brian got home. Now, her recipe for boeuf bourguignon is not at all difficult. There is not a single technique that requires expertise. That being said, the catch is that it takes quite some time to make her recipe from start to finish. Even when you finally put the stew in the oven to simmer for 3 hours, the recipe calls for you to make two different side dishes to be added to the stew later.

So here's how my day went:
- Load kids into car to head to school
- Run back into the house because I forgot to put the roast in a sink of water to finish thawing
- Drop Caroline off at school.
- Drive to the "fancy" grocery store to ensure that I only have to make one stop because everyone knows that the "fancy" grocery store has everything you could need
- Discover that the "fancy" grocery store is out of cheesecloth
- Drive home and unload everything
- Have a little bit of time before Jackson needs a bottle but not enough to actually start cooking so I have a lovely e-conversation with my sis-in-law
- Give Jackson a bottle
- Cube the roast and refrigerate
- Feed Jackson lunch
- Load Jackson into the car and go to "regular" store for cheesecloth
- Upon arrival at "regular" store begin to wonder why no one has any cheesecloth
- Leave store without cheesecloth (where's the cheesecloth???) and pick up Caroline from school
- Get home, unload kids, cut bacon into lardons
- Begin the actual cooking process
- Brown meat while holding a bottle for Jackson who I'm carrying in the Baby Bjorn (he seemed very interested in the whole process...perhaps this has made an impression and he'll grow to be a fabulous chef)
- Begin to "glisten" from the combination of sizzling olive oil and holding a 25-pound baby boy
- Give in and change into a pair of boxers and a t-shirt (not looking so cute now)
- Continue cooking while preparing snacks for kids, shaking rattles, changing diapers, finding toys, tending to requests like "Mommy, my blanket is messed up, help me fix it," and "Mommy, this blanket is too short. I need another one," and "Mommy, can I have scissors to cut some paper?"
- Get the bright idea to turn on Olivia
- Look down to discover that I'm bleeding from some unseen wound. Oh, wait... no... that's tomato paste smeared across my leg. How in the world?
- Finally get the stew in the oven
- Brian gets home and my job gets a whole lot easier :o)



Brian took a photo of the finished dish. It was yummier than I imagined. Oh, and since I couldn't find any cheesecloth, I made my herb bouquet with a coffee filter. I think Julia would have been proud. :o)

You can see a bowl of peas close by. I simply had to make one of the pea recipes from Julia's cookbook in honor of Louisette Bertholle. Those of you who have seen the movie Julie & Julia will recall that poor Louisette received reduced royalties because she did not put the work into the book that Julia Child and Simone Beck did. Louisette's protest consisted merely of, "But I do contribute. It was my idea of adding peas to the boeuf bourguignon." Love it!

And to Glen and Mary, the meat was superb! So tender and flavorful... thank you again.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of autumn

There is a celebration of all things autumn at our house: leaves, pumpkins, pies, and songs.


The Autumn Blaze Maple that Brian gave me for my birthday this past June has turned a glorious shade of red. When I chose that tree, I had read that it sometimes takes a couple of years after planting for it to give off the fiery-red color in autumn, so I was tremendously excited that our tree turned red in its very first year.


The view from our driveway





Check out all those beautiful colors!


Our pumpkin patch was causing me some worry, because it took longer than I thought it should to actually see some fruit. We kept getting these gorgeous yellow-orange blossoms but no pumpkins. Finally towards the end of September, the pumpkins began to grow.


This was the size of our pumpkins before we left for Illinois...




...and this was their size when we got back home. Such fun!




Yesterday during Jackson's afternoon nap, Caroline and I threw together an apple pie. The whole house smelled delish, and the pie was pretty tasty if I do say so myself.


Brian and I were married 5 years ago last Saturday, (been the best 5 years of my life!) and to celebrate we decided to treat ourselves to a new digital video camera. I think we've already made around 10 videos. Here is Caroline singing "It's October." The words are, "The leaves are falling everywhere. The geese are flying over. Boo! It's October."

Too cute!

video

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

6 Months Old!

Jackson turned 6-months-old on September 29th! I know everyone says that time goes by so much faster with your second child, and it really, really, really is true. We can hardly believe we're already half-way through his first year. The pic below was taken on his actual 6-month birthday, but I'm just now getting around to posting it. Since Jackson turned 6-months, he's started taking water in a sippy cup and self-feeding teething crackers.



The day following Jackson's 6-month birthday, Caroline made a dog outfit at school (ears and a collar). When I came to pick her up, all of the kids were coming out of school dressed as doggies and yapping. We parents would ask them questions about their day, only to receive woofs in response. It was too cute. We were laughing so hard, we almost couldn't stop. Anyway, here's a pic of her in her outfit, complete with a dog bone treat with her name on it. Woof woof!

33rd Annual Family Reunion

The last Sunday in September we headed to Mansfield for our 33rd Annual Family Reunion. There was so much food, and it was all delicious. Every year we recognize a family member, and this year we honored Jack Smith. The reunion is a great way to make sure we see everyone at least once a year!



This was Jackson's first DuPriest family reunion.


Caroline is showing off the Sleeping Beauty necklace that Grandmama brought for her.





Here is Papa sharing memories about Jack Smith (seated).


Aunt Babe wrote and read a poem about Jack. Babe will celebrate her 90th birthday next month!!

Sittin' Like a Big Boy

Jackson is SO close to mastering sitting up all by himself. Here are a couple of pics of him working on it. I took these during Brian's trip.



Here he is balancing so well while playing with the alligator xylophone. It looks like his back is touching the chair, but really it isn't... he is holding himself steady all on his own.




Sitting up and smiling!

Brian brought Caroline back a set of stacking dolls from his trip, so now she has a set from Russia and a set from Ukraine. Here she is pretending to be a little Russian girl with her new doll. Too cute.

Butterfly Festival

The weekend before Brian left for Ukraine, we headed to Southlake for a small butterfly festival. The butterflies were housed inside a tent, and we were given sticks with watermelon chunks to attract the butterflies. It was lots of fun.



Granddad is helping Caroline catch butterflies... she has 3 on her stick right now!



Grandmama caught one with her finger.



I put a little watermelon juice on Jackson's head, and the butterfly was happy to stay put long enough to snap this picture.



Caroline wasn't so sure she wanted a butterfly on her head until she saw Jackson with one, and then she was happy to oblige.

Uncle Mike and Caroline playing "red light, green light" in the rain. We walked to Mi Cocina for lunch from the butterfly tent.