Monday, February 24, 2014

Disney Cruise

On New Years Eve we were blessed to be able to go on a Disney Cruise with my family. My parents gave this to us as a Christmas gift and we were so thankful. The kids excitedly counted down the days until New Years Eve! We were aboard the Disney Wonder and had a great time connecting with all of our family and enjoying the party that is a Disney Cruise!

Dinner was set up for a party since it was New Years Eve! We all got fun hats and were pleasantly surprised to see coloring books, crayons and cups with lids on the tables for our kiddos that night and every night! We enjoyed meeting our Jamaican waiter Glenford and the girls enjoyed dressing up in their princess dresses which that were also able to do each night.

Happy New Year!

My little princesses

Mickey Mouse-shaped ketchup!

 Our room had a full bed and two bunk beds so two of our kids ended up sharing a bed each night. But they were so worn out at the end of everyday there were no problems falling asleep!!

Cousin bath-time

Our first morning on the boat we joined other young kids for a Disney dance party and were surprised to have Mickey join us at the end. We were able to add his autograph to the kids autograph books and continue our collection... 

The kids were thrilled to explore the ship, spend time in the kids club, swim in the pools and slide on the water slide, and watch the Broadway-style shows in the theater! There was also a movie theater on board and the kids got to watch Frozen and Monsters University which was one of Oliver's favorite things about the ship! As well as knowing what the schedule was each day. Just like his momma!

One of the highlights of the trip (especially for Gabriella) was meeting all of the characters! Here she is with a few of the friends she met on board...


Princess Tiana




Princess Anna from Frozen!! (her favorite!)

Our cruise left from Galveston and sailed to Cozumel Mexico where the weather was 80 degrees and warm enough for the beach! That was my favorite day on the cruise - a day at the beach with sandcastles, playing in the ocean, snorkeling, swimming pools, nachos and of course sombreros :)

 Megan and baby Davis!

Meme and Pepe enjoying their newest grandbaby

 The Hulse family

Aunt Natty and her loves

3 year old cousins!

One of the nights on our cruise was pirate-themed so we all got into character! This was the one night that Oliver felt comfortable enough to get dressed up and looked awesome in his full pirate costume!

There was a bit of sea-sickness involved on the last day of the cruise, but the seas settled down by the afternoon and we enjoyed seeing our big kids perform on stage with the other kids from the kids club. We will long remember the memories we made on this trip and are so blessed to have such a wonderful family to share them with.

Monday, January 13, 2014

December Fun!

December was a busy but fun month for our family. The big kids got to participate in the Little Rookies program sponsored by the Dallas Stars. They got 2 free weeks of skating/hockey lessons at the ice rink right by our house. They got all suited up (which took quite a while with 9 pieces per uniform for two kids!) and spent an hour on the ice. Their skating got so much better by the end of the first lesson and by the second week, they were really making some tracks. It was fun (and cold) to watch them working on developing a new skill!

Each kid had a Christmas party and I was happy to be able to attend all of them! :)

Melia - age 3 in the Chocolate Chips Class at her preschool

Gabriella and her friend Abby at their Kindergarten "pajama" holiday party

 And my big boy Oliver at his 2nd grade class party. His teacher added a little holiday atmosphere to her wall via her projector :)

We were so blessed to be able to spend Christmas Eve with Matt's extended family. We had a great lunch and gift exchange at his Uncle Mark and Aunt Debbie's house. The kids enjoyed playing with their cousins and we all enjoyed catching up with each other. Matt's sister and brother and their families all came in town for Christmas. Since they live in Colorado and Indiana, we don't get to see them as much as we'd like to. So it was truly a treat to spend almost a full week together! We love y'all Schroeders and Dillards!!

Christmas Morning Fun!!
 Melia loved her new earmuffs :)

The girls in their Frozen costumes... sister princesses Anna and Elsa

Oliver enjoying his new Zelda guide book

The girls building a gingerbread house with their cousin Olivia

Finished product

 The Dillard grandkids (in age order): Olivia, Calvin, Oliver, Atticus, Gabriella, Melia, and Henry with their Papa and Granna

The big kids holding their newest cousin - 2 month old Henry

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas to all of our family and friends far and near! We are excitedly anticipating all of the celebrations surrounding this joyous time of year when we remember the miracle of our Savior's birth! We are enjoying making memories with our kids and family and friends and hope this letter finds you well and doing the same!


Oliver turned 8 years old this month and is in 2nd grade. He loves school and excels in all he does there. He adores his teacher Mrs. Wright and his fun friends. He is always interested in a play date with neighbors and is all about knowing what comes next on the schedule. I routinely find him on my computer checking my Google Calendar to see what is coming up! He loves all things Wii and recently got a game that Daddy plays almost as much as he does - The Legend of Zelda. Wii is even better when playing with a friend... or mommy, or daddy, or uncle, or whoever he can talk in to playing with him! We are so pleased with his improvements in his math knowledge, reading ability and especially his handwriting this school year! Way to go buddy! We are so thankful for him! He is a fun kid to be around and it's been delightful discovering all the fun things about having an 8 year-old.


Gabriella started Kindergarten this year and is 6 years old. She loves school and misses her teacher, Ms. Dunn, on the weekends. She's been known to ask me to send an email to her teacher over school holidays just to say "hello!" :) She's made some sweet friends at school and is often the teacher's helper (no surprise there). She is still as social and outgoing as ever and is a fun girl to be around. She is a caring and thoughtful friend which is fun to watch. Gabby LOVES to be around people and to have fun. You can often find her signing at the top of her lungs, coloring, or making sweet notes for people. I usually get an, "I love you mommy" drawing from her everyday - but I'm not complaining! 
She's got an infectious smile, a great sense of humor, and a sensitive heart. What a blessing from the Lord she is to our family.


Our little firecracker Melia is 3 years old this year and has quite the little personality. She's already a comedian and definitely knows what she does and doesn't want in life. We love the cute sayings that she comes up with and marvel at how old a 3 year old can act! I guess that comes from being the 3rd child and having many older examples. We love her closed-lip camera smile, her snort/giggle, and her pretending voice which is 4 octaves higher than her normal voice. She loves being outside and generally has no fear! She enjoys preschool and Bible Study Fellowing (BSF) mornings with Granna, but also loves being at home. She's been my constant and only companion most days now that the bigger 2 are in school all day and I've enjoyed spending my days with her as my sidekick!

Matt is still a Software Engineer at Corepoint Health where he's been since we moved back to Texas 6 1/2 years ago. He's prospering there and is a valued member of the company. He is considered a senior member now as the company has nearly doubled in size since he started there. He enjoys the work and his days spent coding. The company is based in Frisco which is only a 20 minute drive from our house and we enjoy that he is able to be home with us every evening for dinner. We are proud of his success there! The kids especially look forward to "Tickle Tackle Tuesday" every Tuesday night after dinner with their fun Daddy!

I am still busy in my full-time job as "Mom" and am happy to spend my days playing with Melia, volunteering at the Elementary school and more recently launching my new online decorative sign business Got Paper Designs. That keeps me busy during the times when all of the kids are gone and has been a very rewarding venture for me! I love my family and appreciate that I have the flexibility to support them wherever they need me. 

Merry Christmas to you all! May this Christmas season bring you great joy as you celebrate the birth of the giver of all true joy - Jesus Christ our Lord!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Happy Birthday Oliver

We now have an EIGHT year old in the house! That's right... our first born Oliver turned 8 this month! We are so thankful for this sweet boy and enjoy all the fun that having an 8 year old brings. Great conversations. Playing games together. Pretending together. And (don't tell his friends) but he still likes to cuddle!

To celebrate this awesome boy, we had planned a Wii party. Friends would race against each other in two brackets and the winners of those races got to play the master... Oliver himself. He even got some of the adults to participate... Granna and Papa too!

Unfortunately, the day before his party a massive ice storm hit the Dallas area making most of the roads very difficult to navigate. Some of our friends coasted to a stop on the ice as they parked in front of our house! But most of his sweet friends and their families came anyway to celebrate with us as well as Granna and Papa. Some even hiked from their house to avoid the slippery neighborhood roads! We were so thankful for their support. Oliver had a great time (except when he lost a race against his friends)!

 The huddle of boys... where they stayed for most of the party

His friends from school and church came!

 Matt showing his Dad how it works...

 Happy Birthday to YOU!


We are so thankful for you Oliver - you make our lives much more fun! We love watching you learn and grow and interact with the world around you. We are proud of the many good choices you make and appreciate the respect you show to others.

Happy Birthday Oliver!