The Thomas Family Blog

"And wherever we are, Home is there, too."
~ Jack Johnson

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Eve at Grandmama's

We had a wonderful Christmas Eve - full and busy, but wonderful. We went to church for the Christmas Eve candlelight service first, and it was beautiful. I always love candlelight services at Christmas. It forces you to slow down and remember the real reason for Christmas. It's so beautiful to sit in a darkened sanctuary and watch as slowly each candle brings forth a little bit of light until the entire room is bathed in the soft glow. Listening to the congregation sing Silent Night gives me warm chills :) Christmas is a special time. Watching Caroline and now Emily, too, learn the traditions and customs of Christmas has been one of the greatest joys of my life... but I digress. Back to the narration! After church, we went to Grandmama and Granddaddy's house for our traditional Olive Garden-catered Christmas Eve meal. So delicious. After that we opened presents with Trav's family. Of course, Caroline and Emily received many nice and beautiful things. Best of all: Grandmama and Granddaddy want to take the family to Disney World in September. We are very excited about that and are already working to Dave-Ramsey-fy our portion of the trip. We will make it happen somehow! After we got finished at Grandmama and Granddaddy's house, we headed home to get ready for Santa's visit to Bowers Lane. Bean Bean and Caroline made sure that the reindeer food was properly sprinkled on the lawn and everyone tried to get into bed as early as possible. Well... everyone except Mom, of course! That work seems to never be done!

"Even as an adult I find it difficult to sleep on Christmas Eve. 
Yuletide excitement is a potent caffeine, no matter your age."
~ Carrie Late

Christmas 2010 - Round One

Whew!! What a Christmas it has been. We have been truly blessed this holiday with family, friends, great memories, and, yes, the material gifts were nice, too. It's a wonderful thing when your needs are met for the New Year in spite of furloughs, rising expenses, bills, and a multitude of other unexpected costs that are a part of everyday life. Needless to say, we are grateful for the "little things" that will help us bridge the gap.
Now the holiday rundown: We began on Christmas Eve Day with Grandma and Papa. They came over for breakfast and we exchanged gifts and spent some time together. Caroline got a Pillow Pet and Emily got a new toy, also. Grandma and Papa deposited money into the girls' savings accounts - this is their usual holiday and birthday gift - and a good start to a college fund for each one of the grandchildren. They have seven! Grandma and Caroline made reindeer food, too, so that Rudolph could have a power snack. The highlight of their visit was the advent of Butterscotch the talking pony - a gift from Aunt Patti. This was fun! Caroline didn't know what to make of the life-sized, interactive Butterscotch. Butterscotch is now happily living in our playroom. No barn or manger for this pony. No sir. Here are a few pictures from the visit:

"Christmas is the day that holds all time together."
~ Alexander Smith

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

Caroline's school Christmas program was this week and they did an absolutely wonderful job! It was a sight to see - every class participated from ages two through kindergarten (God bless the teachers!) and they told the story of Christmas through classic Christmas carols and hymns. Caroline was an angel in the angel choir and her group's solos included Go, Tell It On the Mountain and Angels We Have Heard On High. In typical Caroline fashion, she sang high and sweet and took the entire production very seriously. We are so proud of her! Here she is post-performance with her good friend, Mary Kate. So beautiful!!!
"Come to Bethlehem and see
Christ Whose birth the angels sing;
Come, adore on bended knee,
Christ the Lord, the newborn King."
~ James Chadwick, Angels We Have Heard On High, English translation, 1862

Ho Ho Ho!

Santa Claus came to our town! The real Santa Claus - if you don't believe me, just ask Caroline! He's the REAL one! What a nice guy, too! Caroline and Emily had a blast hanging out with the jolly old elf and I think he felt the same way. He promised them everything on their lists - a little excessive, but who could resist these sweet girls all decked out in their Christmas finery? What sweet moments to have and cherish. Thank you, Santa Claus!

"They err who thinks Santa Claus comes down through the chimney; 
he really enters through the heart."
~ Mrs. Paul M. Ell

A Little Thomas Christmas Cheer

The holidays are in full swing and I am either (a): feeling my age, (b): way busier than I used to be, or (c): a little bit of both! I am worn out! I guess it's a good thing to be busy at Christmas, though, because it means there are plenty of people in our lives with whom to celebrate and enjoy all the holiday sparkle :) I have one final gift to wrap and place under the tree and I think I can settle down and just enjoy watching the next few days unfold - the girls at Christmas, hanging out with our friends and family, eating some yummy festive foods, and waiting for a certain plane to land at Hartsfield from LAX! Here's a little bit of holiday cheer to warm you on this cold Atlanta morning. Enjoy!
So We Think We Can Dance - Our Elf Yourself Video

"I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year."
~ Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Monday, December 6, 2010

Girls' Christmas Party

The Annual Girls' Christmas party was yesterday - and I have been thinking about how many years we've kept this tradition going. The very first party was thrown in 1999, so this marks the eleventh year in a row that the party has kept on rolling. It's taken many different shapes, forms, and formats - from huge and co-ed to small and intimate - from rollicking and foggy to quiet and humble. There's never been one that I have attended (I think I've only missed two) that hasn't been a great time and filled with good conversation, good food, good friends, and great memories and this year was no different. This year's gathering was small and quiet - but it was one of the nicest as far as conversation and gifts! Another highlight was inaugurating Becky into the party! Yay! I ended up walking away with a really nice bamboo hors d'oeuvres tray and a great recipe for sausage and cheese wontons - delish - and I still got home by 9:30!

As Becky and I were driving home we decided to kick it up a notch and hold the party on Bowers Lane next year... oh the possibilities... and the guest list!!!!!

Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas. 
~ Peg Bracken

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Festivities!

Today we celebrated Thanksgiving with my Mom and Stepdad, Rick (better known as Grandma and Papa around here). We decided to take the day before Thanksgiving Day and make a tradition of reserving the whole day for us to spend time with them instead of rushing around all day long on Thanksgiving Day trying to get to multiple destinations. So we had a Lowcountry Boil, Key Lime pie, and some festive libations to kick off the day and then, after all the food was cleared away, we made gingerbread houses with the girls - well, Emily mainly observed - but she participated, as well. We decided it would be fun to build gingerbread houses each Thanksgiving, take pictures of them, and then use the pictures to make a Christmas tree ornament. It should be a fun way to remember each year and watch as the girls grow and the gingerbread houses get more elaborate. I wonder if the girls will still want to build gingerbread houses with Mom and Grandma when they are teenagers??? Hmmmm....

We can only be said to be alive in those moments 
when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.  
~Thornton Wilder

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Adult Swim

It has been forever since Travis and I were able to go and do something alone... as adults... with other adults! We went to Athens last weekend to hang out with Jennifer and Gardner and go to the Georgia game. We love to spend time with the Browns. Jennifer and I went to high school together and Travis and Gardner went to high school together, so all four of us have "history." The weather was freezing, and the game was early, but we were determined to tailgate and take advantage of our day - and we did! After the game we headed downtown to continue our festivities and then, on our way back to Jennifer and Gardner's house, we stopped by the T.R.R. Cobb house, a local historic preservation project that I have been interested in seeing for a couple of months. Long story - but if you know me, then you will understand my little nerdy side trip!!!

"Go, you Silver Britches!" 
~ 1950s University of Georgia Football Chant

Nine Months Old!!!!

Okay, so I am a little behind in updating the blog... I am pulling the "I-work-full-time-and-get-no-sleep" card! Emily has been nine months old for a couple of weeks and I am just now getting to her nine month check-in... we went to the doctor and she weighs right at 19 pounds which puts her between the 25th and 50th percentile for her weight. She is hitting all of the developmental milestones appropriately (and I can't help but brag by saying that the doctor said she is actually hitting all of the 12 month milestones, as well). She is an advanced little thing! Yay, Emily! She has begun to take her first steps and is standing independently, but she still very much prefers to crawl. She's an expert crawler and when she decides to go after something she takes a couple of steps and then gets impatient and drops to a crawl... it's quicker and more efficient! She is babbling and likes to say da-da-da-da-da-da repeatedly. She loves to play with my iPhone, my keys, and puts any and everything she can get her hands on into her mouth. Crazy girl!! Love her. She has two teeth and I think she is about to cut some more very soon. She is waving hello, goodbye, claps, loves to play hide and seek, and it's darn near impossible to put a diaper on her. Caroline is her favorite toy!!!

"Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk."
~ Raymond Inmon

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween!!

It seems Halloween is a bad word these days. Gone are the carefree days of Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin and replacing them are paranoia and shame at the celebration of a great American tradition. Well, I am not going to stand by and witness the death of Halloween! So my family did it right! We dressed up in our costumes and went trick or treating... on Halloween evening itself and AFTER dark! We had a blast! Caroline has been enamored of Gone With the Wind lately (more on that later) and dressed as Katie Scarlett O'Hara Hamilton Kennedy Butler herself. There was never a more proud mother than me. That is definitely a chip off the old block right there!!! We were excited that Bean Bean was able to come with us... dressed as Jean-Pierre. Emily was supposed to be an adorable little pumpkin, but she was a little less enthused than the rest of us and was content, as usual, to be an observant bystander to all of the hoopla!

"Another dance and my reputation will be lost forever." 
~ Scarlett O'Hara

My Little Starlet

A quick post... and a sweet memory. Caroline's school hosted a Fall Feast fundraising event last week and we went to support Caroline's class as they sang as part of the evening's festivities. So, we are all sitting there listening to this little group of four year old children sing their hearts out and one voice soars over all the rest. It's Caroline! She is positioned right at the microphone and is hitting every word, every note perfectly! Methinks it is no coincidence that the teacher positioned her there.

"I sing like I feel." 
~ Ella Fitzgerald

School Days

Caroline has really taken to big-girl school. Mama not so much - it's hard keeping up with all of her activities and assignments! I don't remember being so scheduled as a four year old. Times have definitely changed, but we are all keeping up as best as we can. I was able to take a half-day off work so I could accompany Caroline and her class on a field trip to Southern Belle Farm last week. The weather was perfect and the children had a great time. They got to go on a hay ride, play in the pumpkin patch, and feed horses, goats, and chickens. There was also a cow milking demonstration (and that was an education for me!). At the end we got to watch a pig race. Those little porkers can scoot, buddy!!! I was grateful for the opportunity to be able to spend some time with my sweet girl. She is growing up so fast!

"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, 
and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth 
seeking the successive autumns."
  ~ George Eliot

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Autumn Leaves

Caroline and Josie Brown were born only eleven weeks apart. Jennifer and I were both really excited to have had girls at the same time and it's been so much fun to watch them grow up and become close friends - Josie calls Caroline "cousin Caroline." They don't see each other extremely often, but when they do get together it's as if they have not skipped a beat (hmmm... must be genetic! Jennifer and I have the same quality in our own friendship!). They played and played today. Around the end of the afternoon they decided to play in the leaves. I was able to get some really cute shots of them. I particularly love the one of Caroline raking leaves - princesses always wear their gowns... even when performing such menial tasks as yard work.

"Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I'll hear old winter's song
But I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall."
~ Johnny Mercer