Saturday, December 26, 2009

Feast or Famine

My blog has been feast or famine lately.  Either I post everything or nothing.  It seems the month of December has just flown by, and busy-ness abounds.  I added several posts yesterday and today dated the days they took place.  I hope to stay on top of it better now.  It's almost time to publish my second blog book which will mark my first full year (Jan-Dec) of blogging.  Yeah!

Opryland Hotel on Christmas

Since James' flight went out on Christmas evening.  We decided to stop by the Opryland Hotel on the way back from the airport and see the lights.  The kids wanted to stay home and continue building, so it was just the four of us (Mel, Ben, Eric and I).  Ben had never been to Nashville, so we didn't want him to miss out on one of my favorite things: Opryland Hotel.

While the lights were absolutely stunning and beautiful, I think that I still enjoyed it more out-of-season when you can see all the beautiful flowers, plants, and vegetation in full daylight.

These hot-air balloons moved across the room slowly.

I'm standing by one of the double waterfalls

This picture of Mel and Ben was too bright on their faces, so I tried to adjust the brightness, but it left unnatural shadows on Melanie's face.

Eric and I on the boat ride...I was really disappointed with the boat ride this time.  They didn't give us any interesting facts or information at all!  It was all a recorded advertisement about all the services and programs the hotel offers.  My favorite part of the boat ride is the information it provides and the view (which was hard to see in the dark).

We did manage to find my favorite gelato place though, so that made me happy.  It would have been 100 times better without my stomach ache, but it was still enjoyable to be with Melanie and Ben.

Melanie and Ben left early the next morning to head back to Texas.  We had a wonderful time with them and with James.  Thank you for coming to spend Christmas with us.  It was great to meet Ben for the first time.  He is a really great guy.

Jewelry Making

Before we moved to Tennessee, I had a friend who was passionate about making jewelry. She taught me a lot and we had some fun making jewelry together.  But... she owned all the tools, supplies, and know how, so when we moved I naturally stopped making jewelry.

However, recently, I've gotten excited about it again. Jesikah's friend, Ally, gave her some jewelry making tools for her birthday in August. This sparked the interest again, and I've been making jewelry ever since. For Christmas, Eric gave me my own set of jewelry tools, so now Jesikah can have hers for herself.  It's been a fun thing to do with Jesikah. She loves it as much as I do, and has an artistic eye.  Linda has also inspired me to keep learning and trying new things. :)

Here's a sampling of a few things I've made in the past few months:

Silver wire-wrapped beads bracelet & earrings

Pearl necklace for Jesikah for Christmas

Jesikah made this necklace fro Tessa for Christmas

This one I kept for myself

And my personal favorite

Close-up of green multi-faceted bead

And another view of my favorite: close-up of wire-wrapping

My favorite ones to make are the wire-wrapped beads.  I really like the look of the wire-wrapping, and I enjoy doing it.  I plan to take a wire-wrapping class next.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas 2009

Alex with a smile on Christmas morning

Checking out stockings and Santa gifts

What now?

My first present, a gift from Jesikah, which was a plaque she made in activity days.

Jesikah opening a Legos set...the kids all asked for Legos this year

Eric happy with a hat and fingerless gloves from Jarem

The other thing Jesikah asked for: a furreal parrot.  Jarem got a furreal dog and Tessa a furreal duck.  You'd think they were real by the way they act with them...pretty cute!

And Tessa finally got a real American Girl doll

A whole box full of Star Wars action figures!

Ben gets a new tie!

Jesikah gets an Our Generation doll

Alex opening his gift from Grandma Cindi

It's a Gators hat!

Jesikah excited to see the same books she picked out at the book fair in October!

Jarem shaking his presents trying to find Legos

James opening yet another gift for the house: towels!

Alex opening his gift from Jarem: a watch

The girls with their gift from Jarem: Super Mario Galaxy.  The sad part is, the Wii broke 2 days before Christmas! :(

Jarem has Hot Wheels from Grandma Cindi

James has another gift for the house: Cutco knives!  He seems a little more excited about this one...wonder how he's gonna take those back on the plane in his carry-on?

A new jacket for Alex...I hope he'll actually wear this one.

Jesikah very excited about opening a bed for her American Girl doll

Tessa admiring the locket necklace that Jesikah bought for her at their school's holiday shoppe.

Melanie with one of her favorite gifts...a nap quilt from Mom (hand-quilted)

And Eric with one of his favorites...a new Ping driver!

Alex with his Legos that he picked out individually from Legoland when we went to Disney World

Jarem with Thomas from Grandma Cindi

Jarem giving Tessa a hug for his gift from her...see her furreal duck next to her

Alex is very happy about Asics shoes.  Tennis shoes always make him happy.

What 4-year old wouldn't love a light saber?

Melanie with her jewelry that she selected and I made for her on Christmas eve. (by the way, they aren't supposed to go together)

Tessa with a horse ball from Alex.  She was bouncing it before she even got it open.

Oh, look at that cute apron with her name embroidered on it...Grandma Ricks made that for her and she also got a cooking set.

Another of Mel's favorite presents: a toaster oven from James! (We draw names, and this year Melanie had us and James had Melanie, so that worked out nice since the three of us were together.)

Jesikah almost started crying when she opened this one...a snow globe and charm bracelet that she really wanted but didn't have money for at Disney World.  Eric and I secretly got it for her.

Tessa opening her book fair books

Alex surprised at another rare lego set that we picked up at Legoland while at Disney

Jarem playing with his clones while waiting for his turn.

Tessa with her apron and cooking set from Grandma Ricks

Jarem saved this softy for last because he thought it was going to be clothes

What a surprise when it turned out to be a warm and soft blanket from Grandma Ricks

And Alex's favorite of his Star Wars lego sets.

After we finished with gifts, Mel and Butch took a nap, along with Ben and James

Eric and I headed to the kitchen to get going on dinner,

And all 4 kids headed downstairs to build their new lego sets, where they remained quietly building for the rest of the day.  By the day's end, Jesikah and Tessa had built their Lego houses, and Alex had his favorite Star Wars ship built.  Jarem built some little things too.