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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas Snapshots


Casey got really good at cutting toys out of
impossible packages and assembling them quickly!

Open one, then on to the next...

Finally...I'm getting around to posting some pictures from our Christmas.

Casey's sister came in town from L.A. with her husband, Matt and we got to spend a couple of days with them at his parents' house. It was so nice to get to spend time with Ginny and Matt since they live so far away and we don't get to see them very often. We had a great time playing games and staying up laughing at the most random things. Casey's mom hosted both her family and my father-in-law's familys Christmas dinners! We had one night with 25 people and the next night with 26 people. The kids were so ready to start opening presents by Christmas Eve!

Waiting for the party to start

Casey & Ginny

Merry Christmas from the O'Quinns

Rory and his Great Grandaddy

Adina playing with Rory
Matt coloring with Maggie

Is it time for Christmas yet?
This one is for me!It was a Barbie Christmas for Maggie

Cool jacket just like Daddy
Pop (Casey's dad) felt so bad for Rory...he has a "no butt" thing going like his Daddy...and can't keep his pants up. Pop made him a pair of Redneck suspenders out of rubber bands and paper clips. It was hilarious but effective.

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Aftermath

Christmas came and went and boy am I having trouble recovering! I'm pooped.

I've only just come out of the barrage of family visits, present opening, toy assembling, food preparation and wrapping paper shrapnel clean-up that has made up our last week...and I'm still in recovery mode.

I'm sure being big and pregnant has a lot to do with it but energy is not something that I can muster lately.

I can't wait to post pictures from our various Christmas celebrations and will soon so check back.

Monday, December 24, 2007

I'm Dreaming of a ...

...okay, I'll just settle for a cold Christmas.

I know not to expect a white Christmas in Houston. That's why I love to watch another one of my favorite Christmas movies...."White Christmas".

It is so cheesy and wonderful. The way they break out into dancing and song, the classic wholesomeness it possesses, the "are they British or just very proper Americans?" style of accents they all have. I love it all!!!

I'm a sucker for old classics and this is one that is a staple as I decorate my tree each year.

Christmas Eve

Christmas is tomorrow! I love Christmas and everything about it.

I love getting dressed up and going to the Christmas Eve service at church. I love our traditions of cookies & milk for Santa, breakfast casserole in the morning while we open presents, movies and games on Christmas Day.

One tradition we had growing up was watching the movie A Christmas Story. Even before TBS helped us out by making it accessible 24 hours prior to Christmas morning...we would watch our VHS over and over as we prepared for and celebrated Christmas. It STILL makes me laugh!

The other night, I was heading out to do some last minute shopping for my own kids while they stayed behind with their Daddy. They were so curious about where I could possibly be going without them so I finally told them where I was going. They both got so flustered as I was walking out the door trying to think up any last minute ideas to give to me...

Rory got tripped up but chased me to the door urgently saying, "uh...uh...uh...uh...uh...I want...I want....I want... I want..." I was waiting for the "Official Carbine Action 2 range jet model air rifle" line to burst out of his mouth but instead he shouted..."CAMMO WHISTLE!"

I don't think he truly has been pining for one of those but it was all he could come up with and I left in stitches over his efforts to squeeze one more present in under the wire!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Ballet Birthday Party

A week ago, Maggie had her 5th birthday party. She has opted out of having a party the past two years because she said that she was "too shy" and "didn't want a whole bunch of mommies and daddies looking at her". I respected that and we've had simple, understated family get-togethers instead. It was her idea this year to copy her friend's party with ballet and tea. It just so happened that when I was calling around, the place that had the best birthday party package was the studio where I took ballet as a little girl!

She had so much fun dancing around and dressing up with her friends. They even got to watch a real live ballerina dance the story of Sleeping Beauty on toe. The 11 little girls also enjoyed pink lemonade and pink cupcakes in a tea party setting before opening presents.

I enlisted Casey's uncle (who is multi-talented...i.e. musician, artist) to draw a caricature of Maggie as a ballerina for the invitations and I thought that it turned out so cute. We had a lot of fun showering our little princess and her friends. Here are some of the pictures from the party...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Happy Birthday, Maggie

Five years ago today, I was in a hospital bed anxiously awaiting the birth of my first baby. I knew she was a girl, I knew her name would be Maggie but I had no idea how much I would love her! I had no idea that when I looked at her...I would see Casey. I wasn't prepared for how much she would change my life!
She was 8 pounds 3 ounces and had the biggest cheeks. She was and still is so gorgeous to me! She had big blue eyes that everyone kept telling me would eventually change to brown because Casey has such dark eyes. She is my blue eyed beauty.
She did everything before it was time: roll over, walk, talk. People were always amazed by how well she could speak at such a young age. It was of no credit to me, though. If she was determined to do something...she got it done. She also, however, posses my stubborn nature and doesn't do anything she doesn't want to do.
She has her moments of shyness in public but for the most part is so energetic and outspoken! I love to hear the things that she comes up with. She is sweet and kind. Loving and very nurturing. Giving and forgiving. Witty and talented. She loves it when she can get us laughing at something she has done. She has also loved singing since she was a baby. I used to hum to her when I was putting her to sleep and she would hum the same thing back to me. I love to listen to her when she doesn't think anyone else is around because she's either belting out songs we've been listening to in the car or making up songs as if her life were an opera! Why isn't a camera ever handy in those moments?
She certainly is convinced that she is Daddy's little princess and likes to act as if Rory is one of her loyal subjects. She changes clothes about 9 times a day and is always taking fashion risks with her blend of colors and patterns!
She is so helpful and giving. There is no activity that she doesn't want to take an active part of around the house and is always quick with a "I'll do it for you" if a diaper needs to be retrieved for her brother or the laundry needs folding or the cookie dough spatula needs licking!!!
She has blossomed into such a beautiful and gracious young lady and I can't believe that 5 years has already gone by. It makes me so sad to see the baby in her completely gone and yet so proud at the girl she has become. I pray that she will always have her compassion, her spirit and her eagerness to learn new things.

We love you so much, Maggie Britt and are so proud of you!

We had our traditional birthday pancake breakfast and she got to open family presents. Her party was on Saturday (I will blog about that later). Rory was a little bit upset about the fact that it was not his birthday...

video

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

BIG Ol' Belly!!!

30 Weeks

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas at the Opry

It was the final of three Christmas shows at Casey's uncle's Opry on Saturday and we had so much fun getting to sing and wrap up what has been a long (and sort of stressful) three weeks of learning 3 different 2-hours sets of Christmas songs. Singing the melody is one thing but learning parts and having to memorize lyrics you thought you knew can be daunting! Here are some pictures from the past 3 Saturday nights...

Molly (my mother-in-law), me, Wendy (Casey's aunt)

"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"

My sleepy 'Santa baby' who loves it at the Opry!

"What Child is This" from the live nativity

It's a lot of fun being able to celebrate my favorite season surrounded by such wonderfully talented musicians (and most of them are in my family!). Casey's not so hot on the Christmas music. In fact, I call him the Grinch because listening to 12 different versions of Jingle Bells, putting lights on the house and watching White Christmas makes him grumpy...so, thanks, babe for letting me spend my last 3 weekends doing this :o)

It's Official...

....I'm a Soccer Mom! We have outgrown my college Honda Civic and had to upgrade but I must say that I am loving my new Honda Odyssey!

Rory calls it his rocketship so that has become it's new name in our house. They beg to run errands so they can watch movies in the car (how that's so completely different from at home, I don't know).

We went from one silver Honda to another and ironically, my sister has the exact minivan. I think that we might have shirts made up to look like we're a gang or something!
Goodbye, compact car...hello, 3 car seats!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Luke Needs our Prayers

Please keep my good friend, Lindsay in your prayers. This is our third pregnancy together and the other two have been totally uneventful for both of us. It's so hard to sit by and watch a dear friend have to suffer through something that you thank God you're not having to face and at the same time...wish you could share some of the burden too!

Click on her name above to read the latest about Luke (due Jan 15) or on her name in my links list.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Baby Names

Thank you all so much for your suggestions!

I love the new ideas, confirmations of old names and just an overall great list of ways to decide. We have a little over two months to think about it and hope that God shows us which name is right for our little one.

Keep the suggestions coming if you think of something else or just want to give your 2 cents on the suggestions already made.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Irish Boy Needs a Name

I have reached the point of desperation in the naming of this child where a once very independent thinker (that's me) who didn't want input from ANYONE (that would be you) is reaching out for suggestions.

A little history...Casey and I honeymooning in lush, green Ireland, stopped in a quaint little town and I went into a shop while Casey got gas. I saw a small "Irish Book of Baby Names" and thought I'd get it as a souvenir. As we drove along the winding roads, up and down the breath-taking hillsides, we thumbed through the book and picked out names that we liked. In Sharpie inside the front cover, we wrote: Maggie and Rory. They have always been the names of our children.

Baby number 3 will make his or her appearance in 2 and a half months and I don't know what name we will bestow upon this child for the REST of his or her life! This whole "not knowing" process has been neat but it's made me stress twice as hard about what the name will be because I must be prepared for either. I have a few girl names I like but with the boy, I'm baffled.

So...I'm tossing it out to you.

Can you think of some good Irish sounding boy names?

Help.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Blessed


I am so blessed...SO blessed.


I look around and I just can't believe how wonderful my family is and how truly blessed I am to be a wife to my childhood sweetheart and a mom to the two most precious children I have ever met! ...and one on the way who I just can't wait to meet.

Thank you, God for giving me this life and help me to appreciate it every moment of every day.

3:00

It's 3:00...

My crazy hour of the day. Actually 2 hours.

3 am- I wake up from a perfectly wonderful night's sleep to pee. I get back in bed only to lay there. Heartburn, thoughts, discomfort...you name it, I can't get rid of it and it typically lasts for about an hour and is completely frustrating! The baby must think that this is a wake up call because it starts to move like it's competing in a synchronized swimming event. Flip...poke...flip....kick, kick, kick...flip. What are you doing in there? It's 3 AM?!

3 pm- The magic hour during the day when my kids are resting and I am overwhelmed with exhaustion, hunger and physical fatigue. Lunch is too far gone and dinner is not soon enough so I wind up fixing something filling like ice cream (not helping the rapidly enlarging body I'm toting around) and falling asleep on the couch.

So basically...I'm awake when I should be sleeping and sleepy when I should be awake. I can neither be productive nor peaceful during either of these elusive hours and it is very frustrating to me.

Ah...pregnancy.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Maggie's Christmas Concert



(I promise I'll try and not make this a sappy entry about how wonderful my daughter's 20 minute/5 song Christmas Concert was at school today. It was preschool after all, not a Boston Pops concert. To tell you the truth...if you've been to one of those things, you've been to them all!!! Today was particularly amusing, though, in the life and personality that is still forming in my little 4 (almost 5) year old.

She has been telling me that she doesn't care for the song "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" recently but I thought it was just a casual opinion she was expressing. I asked her this morning if she was ready to sing for us and her response was,

"Everything but 'We Wish You A Merry Christmas'. I'm not going to sing that one because I don't like it."

I told her that it's ok not to like it but she should still sing with her class.

Sure enough...the concert began and the opening song was..."We Wish You A Merry Christmas".

All 50 kids were smiling, waving, swaying and singing at the top of their lungs. Everyone but Maggie. There she was on the front row, in the very center...hands pressed by her sides and lips almost locked shut with a perturbed look on her face. Then, in song #4, something about Bethlehem, she decided that she didn't care for the 'swish swish' motion that she was asked to do. Check out the video for her lack of participation...(she's in the red dress in the center)

video

What can I say? The girl's choosy about her material. She exhibited her creative right to not to perform something that was beneath her. She did a great job in the rest of the concert, doing all of the motions and singing at the top of her lungs.

I don't know...do I discourage this rebel attitude or be so grateful that her sense of individuality will probably serve her well in the future when most kids are using the "everyone else is doing it" excuse. The girl marches to the beat of her own drum, that's for sure!!!

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Monday, December 3, 2007

Oh Christmas Tree



We got our tree yesterday and the smell that fills my house is so comforting! Maggie and Rory took an active part in saying, YES or NO when Daddy pulled out each tree at Home Depot. I think they picked a great one. It was very strange getting our Christmas tree in 80 degree weather but I guess that's Houston for you. Then this morning, it was 40 when we woke up!

Maggie helped me decorate while Rory helped to undecorate. It was so neat to go through and show her every ornament from each year that she and I have been alive. My mom used to let us go and pick out one ornament each year and she would write our name and the date on the bottom of them. She gave them to me a couple of years ago and I have done the same thing with my kids. This year is no exception so while at the store today, I let the kids look at all of the ornaments and pick one. Not surprisingly...Maggie chose a princess. Rory was adamant about getting a John Deere tractor ornament that he laid his hands on and would not let go of. How will I go about explaining the significance of that ornament when he is older...I do not know.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Three Gifts

There is just something about having two children who are overwhelmed at this time of year with the "I wants" to make you want to simplify. I don't know if it's just me but this season has seemed more hectic than previous ones. I am overwhelmed with to do lists and commitments. Parties, presents and priorities are constantly stressing me out.

All of this to say that when I heard this idea...I fell in love with it! I was talking with one of my blog-obsessed (but not a blogger herself, I need to add...echh-hem, Mrs.McW!) about a blog she had come across and what one mother does with her children. They have instilled the Three Gifts way of celebrating Christmas.

The wise men came to visit Baby Jesus bearing three gifts and that should be good enough for us as well. Instead of Christmas being about an onslaught of toys that will get discarded into the depths of the playroom toy box, keep it down to three.

One Want

One Need

One Surprise!

I love it, don't you!? Let them pick one thing that they really want, get them something that they need that might not be so much fun and then surprise them with something.

I think that we may start that tradition at the O'Quinn house this year.

Christmas Getting to Know You

My sister posted this questionnaire and I must say that I love these things! I like to find out things about people that probably won't come up in a normal conversation. If you are a reader of both mine and my sister's blogs, you may find that a few of my answers are the same as hers. I don't know if this is due to the fact that the majority of our Christmases have been spent together with the same traditions or that we just have the same fantastic taste :o)

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? wrapping paper...I like to do homemade bows and I never have enough tissue paper to fill the bags. Also, it takes longer to open wrapped boxes and that make Christmas morning more fun

2. Real tree or Artificial? Real. It just wouldn't be Christmas without that smell

3. When do you put up the tree? the first week of December

4. When do you take the tree down the tree? around New Year’s

5. Do you like egg nog? I've never been inclined to try it...it just sounds yucky

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Gameboy...my parents told me I couldn't have one but it was under the tree.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? Every year I contemplate getting one but I still don't have one. How horrible is that? Maybe I'll go to Hobby Lobby tomorrow and get one.

8. Hardest person to buy for? My father-in-law.

9. Easiest person to buy for? Maggie

10.Mail or email Christmas cards? mail

11.Worst Christmas gift you ever received? books

2. Favorite Christmas Movie? White Christmas- I start watching it every year about Nov 15th just to start getting me in the spirit. Maggie already loves it too!

13. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? yes

14. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Cannon Balls - a cookie/candy type sweet that my mom would make every year with dates and coconut

15. Clear lights or colored on the tree? white lights look so pretty against the green tree

16. Favorite Christmas song? The Christmas Song (better known by it's opening line "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire")

17. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Living close to our families makes it convenient to see everyone but we start at home so we won't miss Santa!

18. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeers? "You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen. Comet and Cupid and Doner and Blitzen...but do you recall, the most famous reindeer of all...Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, etc. etc.

19. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? We do them all on Christmas morning

20. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Traffic and crowds

21 Favorite ornament theme or color? I started out with all silver ornaments but I couldn't resist filling the tree with all of my kiddo's popsicle stick and play dough ornaments. As of last year, we have quite a few Willow Tree Angels after an incident at a Hallmark where Maggie knocked over an entire display and we ended up having to pay for about 15 of them!!! It was one of those parenting moments where you can't get mad because it was very much an accident but it did hurt to have to shell out the cash for a bunch of headless, armless angles that I really didn't want. One year later and I'm glad to have them because it will make a great story for years to come as we decorate our tree.

22. Favorite food for Christmas dinner? I'm going to say that my favorite food from Christmas Day is the breakfast casserole that my mom used to make on Christmas morning. Now I do it and I'm usually still full when we sit down for Christmas dinner.

23. What do you want for Christmas this year? jewelry (Charming Charlie's not Tiffany)

24. Who is most likely to respond to this? Lindsay

25. Who is least likely to respond to this? I never like to set anyone up as an under-acheiver! :)

Merry Christmas!!!!!

Weekend Getaway

This weekend, we went with some of our small group friends to their family farm for a little "no kids", time to do nothing, play games retreat.

It was so much fun to be out in beautiful nature and enjoy being lazy and not having to chase tots around. The guys like to go hunting and for the most part, the girls just stayed at the house and chatted and cooked. We did, however, let the boys take us out one afternoon for 4-wheeling, deer corn feeder fillin', tree stand climbing fun! I think the boys were proud to have their wives out with them driving the 4 wheelers, wearing a little cammo and even peeing in the woods. (Hey, a pregnant girl's gotta do what a pregnant girl's gotta do!)

Here are some pictures of our rough and tumble boys and us wilderness girls...

The boys

The Girls

Casey & Carly

Conn & Ashley

Greg & Stacy