Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Walk through the lights at Rhema Bible Church and Seeing Santa with Traber

On Monday night, we took a stroll through the lights at Rhema.  Everyone who lives in the Tulsa area knows about Rhema--they put on the most amazing display you will ever see!

The RHEMA Christmas Lights Display was introduced in 1982 with approximately 60,000 lights. This year, more than two million lights illuminate the RHEMA campus.  This year’s display is expected to draw more than 200,000 visitors from all over Oklahoma and surrounding states. As always, admission is free--this makes for excellent entertainment!!

My favorite section of the park was the Rhema park bridge.  In this section, the hundreds of thousands of lights were synchronized to Christmas music.  I could have stood there all night--it was truly amazing!

Here is an example I found on youtube of the display I am referring isn't a high quality video, but you can still get the idea of what it is like.

Here are some pictures from Rhema and some pics of Luke and his cousin, Traber's, visit to see Santa.

We also thought we'd let Luke visit Santa for the 4th time this year, with hopes that the fear would have subsided by this point. However, the fear is still there...

As soon as Luke saw we were going to be approaching Santa's lap, he started screaming.   Santa said to me, "You're going to have to sit on my lap with him...that's what we have to do with the criers."

Later, Luke's cousin Traber arrived to the Bass Pro Shop where Santa was--I guess he felt the same way about Santa.
And we figured out that adding another cousin to Santa's lap didn't help.  Poor little guys--but we got some classic pictures regardless., we now have succumbed to the fact that Luke will not like Santa this year.  It must be pretty common at this age, and we are ok with that.   I think I would be scared too at that age. 

A Trip to the Tulsa Zoo and Living Museum

Luke and all of his Oklahoma cousins visited the Tulsa Zoo and Living Museum recently and had a blast! Perhaps it was because it was December and the temperature was in the mid-50's, but we were one of the few families that decided to visit at the time we went. This meant NO CROWDS at all! And, the animals must like the cooler temperatures, because we were able to see all of them except the elephants--I think they were getting a bath.

Here are some pics of us enjoying the day at the Zoo!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas, Christmas Time is Here

It has been so much fun this year with Luke, watching him experience so many new things and this Christmas season is no different.  We're anxious to start new traditions with him.  Our neighborhood association hosts a "Breakfast with Santa" each year that is really neat for the kiddos.  Not only do we get to see Santa, but we get to eat breakfast with him.

Before Santa arrived, we checked out the beautiful decorations and Luke enjoyed mingling with some other kids.

Daddy and Luke in front of one of the trees.

and a little dancing and running
Luke doing a little mingling.

When Santa arrived at our Community Center, Luke was coloring and was caught off guard.  We have shown him Santa a few times, and he is very interested in seeing him---from afar that is.


Luke wasn't so sure about Santa coming right up to him and singing "Santa Claus is Coming to Town."  But, we decided to take it a step further and sit on his lap.   We should have known how this would end up, but everyone tells us we need to get one of those classic pictures.

So, here we go.  First, the family in front of us actually asked Santa to get up out of his chair and stand behind them, while they sat in his chair.  I thought that was pretty bold, and wasn't about to ask Santa to do that.  But, I did ask him if I could sit on his lap, with Luke in mine, hoping Luke wouldn't notice and we could snap a picture.  Because Luke hadn't seemed too upset yet, I went ahead and put him directly into Santa's lap.

Here, it looks like Luke is happy---but, actually, the nice lady who snapped the picture did so quickly enough to get him in his beginning crying stages.  I'll take it.

Then, I picked Luke up, hoping to console him and get Drew to snap of quick picture of Luke on Santa's lap by himself.  It didn't happen---but I did get this.

Merry Christmas!  :-)

After the event (Breakfast with Santa) every year, Santa goes around the entire neighborhood aboard a firetruck, yelling "Merry Christmas" to all the kids.  He also throws out some candy and the firefighters sound their sirens.  It is so much fun to watch all of the kids try to chase down the fire truck.

Of course, we also want Luke to understand the true meaning of Christmas.  When he gets a little older, we plan on beginning even more important traditions involving Luke.  These traditions will evolve around giving back to others, just as God sent us the greatest gift of all--his son Jesus Christ.  For now, we have been trying to teach him the Christmas story using the Little People Christmas Nativity that his Grandma and Grandpa bought for him last year.  The other day, we lost Joseph and Drew was looking through the toy chest saying, "Joseph, where are you?"  It was so cute to then watch Luke dunk himself into the big toy chest saying, "Joseph....Joseph?"

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's the Holiday Season! Bring on the Holidays!

Wow---it's been a little while since our last blog post.  Luke is a toddler, we celebrated Thanksgiving and now we are getting ready for Christmas!  So much as happened since our last post, but I will highlight just a few of the most recent happenings.

1.   We had a wonderful Thanksgiving potluck with our Austin Stone Missional Community Group.   It was a lot of fun visiting with everyone and sharing a meal together.   Unfortunately, we forgot to take pictures while everyone was together.  We snapped a couple before everyone arrived though.

2.  Then, we traveled down to Sugar Land, TX to visit Drew's side of the family.  We had a great time---Drew and I even got to play golf with Drew's dad on Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  On Thanksgiving, we shared a wonderful meal together.  It was delicious! 

Mitchell contemplates what to put on his plate.

Chef Kathleen (Mimi) and Tom (Papa)
(Luke loves saying "Papa."  He has a picture book with family photos in it and enjoys finding Papa and then pointing to him and saying his name over and over.) 

The beautiful table
On Thanksgiving morning, I did a little online shopping.  I found some great deals and didn't have to leave the house.  I am thinking that online shopping may be the way to go from now on.

As with most of our adventures, travels and visits, we wish we would have snapped more pictures on Thanksgiving.  Sometimes we have to be VERY intentional about remembering to take pictures.  When we are having a lot of fun, we often forget to take the time to go get the camera out and snap some pics.  We will be better about it.  

3.  When we got back to our home from our visit with Mimi and Papa, we decided to decorate our house for Christmas.  Luke was fascinated by the decorations!  We tried to accomplish most of the decorating during his Sunday afternoon nap.  So, when he awoke and went downstairs, he shouted "Ohhhhhhhhhhhh" with extreme excitement when he saw the Christmas tree.  That's when we truly realized it was going to be so much fun this Christmas season!  We can't wait!  

Luke examines the Christmas lights on the tree in our front yard.

Our house
 While I was finishing up with some indoor decorations, I noticed that Luke had found daddy's shoes.  It was so cute!   He put them on and attempted to walk in Daddy's size 11.5 shoes, while saying "Dadda....Dadda." 

The pics above with Daddy's shoes reminded me of this pic I posted on my Facebook page in July.  Luke has always been fascinated with shoes.  He sure is growing up quickly.

Our tree...we decided to put less on the tree this year since Luke is so mobile.  We figured there is less to break this way!

Our stockings, hung by the chimney with care.
 Oh yeah--one more important note--Oklahoma beat Oklahoma State last Saturday in a very exciting football game.  Our household was extremely excited!  Now, we need to beat Nebraska this weekend!  We'll all be decked out in our OU gear cheering them on from home!  Boomer Sooner!

We have many adventures ahead this Christmas season.  More to come this weekend!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Our Visit to Oklahoma & Traber's First Birthday Party

Drew, Luke and I visited my hometown of Broken Arrow, OK last weekend to visit with family and celebrate our nephew's (Traber's) first birthday.

Traber REALLY enjoyed his birthday cake.   He even got his feet into the action!  Here is an adorable picture of Traber on one of his gifts that my uncle, Randy, made him.  What a treat to get a gift like this!!

Of course, all of the other kids wanted a turn on the horse also.  Here is a picture of Luke's 8-month old cousin, Linnea, taking a turn:

Luke and some of his cousins tested out one of Traber's birthday gifts--a super cool wagon!

We had lots of fun adventures while we were there.  Some of these included going to a high school football game, going to a fun park with Luke's cousins and cheering on OU at the watch-party on Saturday night (guess our cheering didn't help any).   Luke and his cousins Kaylee and Brody were all ready to cheer on OU in this picture:
We'll probably being seeing a lot of this over the years with these two only being a month apart:

There were so many good pics from the weekend.  So, I've included them in a slideshow below:

A Trip to the Botanical Garden with my Cousins

My cousin, Kristin, and her husband, Michael, came down from Oklahoma for a visit last week.   We had a great time visiting with them.  I had taken a half-day off, so I was able to visit the Zilker Botanical Garden with them.  Kristin is taking a photography class, and just purchased a new lens the night before that she wanted to try out.  Of course, I love photography and was also excited about all of the photo opportunities at the gardens.  The last time (and only time) I had visited the gardens, it was about 100 degrees.

During our visit last week, we could not have asked for a more perfect day for pictures.  I probably could have spent a lot more time there.  I always forget about this beautiful place--and you know what else is's FREE!  During the week, you don't even have to pay for parking!  I would love to go back soon!  Here are some of our pictures from our visit to the Garden:

Monday, November 1, 2010

Boo! Halloween!

Yes---that is Drew as Luigi, me as Mario, and Luke as Yoshi.  We spent Halloween with some of our Austin Family...our friends from our Austin Stone Community Church group.  We had a great time!  We ate some delicious food, played some Halloween-themed celebrity on our driveway and enjoyed seeing all of the costumes as trick-or-treaters visited us.  Was it just us, or did kids quit saying "trick or treat"?  At one point in the night, our friend, Adam, held the candy basket and asked kids as they approached with their hands out ready for candy, "What do you say??"   We were expecting to hear, "trick or treat."  Instead, we got a "thank you".  I guess at least they were polite!  :-)

Glenna provided some excellent costume commentary for the evening.  One of my favorite comments was given as a kid dressed in a Texas Longhorn #12 Basketball Jersey approached---Glenna said, "Oh, it's Colt McCoy!"   The kid responded, "This is a Basketball Jersey."  He then said "Hook'em Horns."  Glenna, who was proudly wearing a Baylor Bears t-shirt responded with a "Sic' Em." You're awesome, Glenna!  :-)

Luke and his friend, the cute little ladybug, Krystle
Here's Miss Krystle again
Jessi, Adam, Glenna and Aaron
Daddy and Luke checking out the display at the house down the street.
Luke was very curious about the display.

Jennifer and Krystle

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Our Recent Adventures

It's been a while since our last post--so this may be a little longer than usual.

Luke was really sick for about a week, so that absorbed a lot of our attention, time, concern, and emotions. Now, I completely understand why my mom was always so concerned when I became ill. We still have no idea what caused his illness, but we are ELATED that he is on the road to recovery. I think he has tried to make up for what he did not eat or drink for a week over the last couple of days! I have never been so happy to see him eat! And everyone that knows Luke knows that he is SUCH a happy, cheerful, energetic little guy--so seeing him nearly comatose was frightening to say the least! I just hate that he cannot communicate how he is feeling. Now, that is all behind us and I just hope he never ever becomes that ill again!

Prior to him becoming really ill, we checked out Pedernales Falls for the first time. I loved the rock formations and watching the water flow rapidly through them.  Luke thought they were pretty neat also.  Here are some pictures from our visit there:

Then, this past weekend, as Luke was on the road to recovery, we decided to visit Sweetberry Farm in Marble Falls, TX. We have been wanting to take him to a Pumpkin Patch and realized on Sunday that was probably our last chance to do it--so we did.  :-)  What a great place for photo opps!!!!  And, it was such a neat place for kiddos.  They have all of the following activities there for children (and kids at heart):

Stuff Your Own Scarecrow
Kiddie Hayfield Maze
The 'Texas' Hayfield Maze
Pick Your Own Flowers
Horse Rides
Face Painting
Homemade Ice Cream (they have Pumpkin Pie flavor)
We had a fresh Strawberry Lemonade--YUMMY!  they also had grilled hamburgers, grilled corn, etc.
Pet the Horses and Goats, & Chickens (Luke liked this)
and of course - TONS of pumpkins, gourds, squash and other decorative items 

I want to go back this spring and pick some strawberries and blackberries!  Here are some of our pics from our trip to Sweetberry Farm:

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Luke's First Birthday

It seems like only yesterday that Luke was this big:

And now, he is 1!!!!!

We had a great time celebrating Luke's birthday!  As you can see from the picture above, Luke demolished his first ever piece of cake within about a minute.

All of Luke's cousins, Aunts and Uncles and both sets of grandparents came into town to celebrate with us at his sports-themed party.  We celebrated his big day at one of our neighborhood parks.  We'd like to say a BIG "thank you" to everyone who celebrated his big day with us.  It meant so much to us that you were there!

We took a lot of pictures, so I thought I'd share via a slideshow.  The pictures are inclusive of not only his party, but the whole weekend.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How do little boys know to do little boy things?

So, why are certain things innate? Why do boys know to play with certain boy toys, like cars, balls, dirt, etc.  I think it is so funny that Luke enjoys all of the things most other little boys enjoy.   So, I did a little research on the subject, and have pasted and referenced some information below the cute pics of Luke for those of you who are interested.

But, back to our Luke.  For example, he loves playing with cars.  In fact, he pretends a lot of things are cars and pushes them around on the ground and makes car noises.  He also enjoys taking whatever you have stacked so neatly and making it crumble very dramatically.  He loves opening up the kitchen cabinets to pull out the pots and bang on them with a spatula.  He loves to play with balls as well.   Lately, his obsession is to bring a ball to the edge of the top of the stairs and push it down the stairs.  He sits there until the ball stops rolling on the bottom floor, goes and gets another ball and then repeats the activity.

Lastly, he enjoys his books and reading them.  But, he REALLY likes to pull them all off of the shelves.

Here are some pictures of our little boy being a boy.

Another one of his pastimes.  Clicking buttons on the Hepa Air filter machine in his room.  He likes to turn it on.  If you turn it off, even if he is 10 feet away, he ALWAYS notices and will go rapidly back to the machine and turn it back on.  He also gives you the stare-down, as if he's asking you why you touched it.

Here is some interesting information that I found on a science blog:

Psychologists have wondered for decades whether boys preferred "boy toys" because of a natural inclination to like hard, mechanically-oriented things, or simply because those around them encouraged them to play with the toys they felt were appropriate for boys. Similarly, do girls "naturally" like to play with dolls, or are they encouraged to do so by their parents? While researchers have found that kids around 18 months and older do prefer the traditional gender-specific toys, research for younger kids (presumably less-influenced by their parents) is less clear-cut.

A 2000 study showed babies between 3 and 18 months old pictures of toys traditionally preferred by each gender and measured how long boys and girls looked at the pictures. The boys as young as 9 months old seemed to prefer toys like balls, blocks, and cars to dolls, dustpans, and ovens. However, even the 18-month-old girls showed no apparent preference for any type of toy based on how long they looked at them.

New technology allows researchers to record the precise eye movements of infants, and a team led by Gerianne Alexander designed a simple study to see if 6-month-olds really showed sex differences in toy preference. Thirty babies were placed in a car seat in front of a small puppet stage, whose curtain was opened for ten seconds to reveal two toys: a pink doll and a blue truck. The curtain was lowered, the position of the toys was switched, and it was raised again for another ten seconds, so each toy was seen in each spot for the same amount of time. Then the number of looks at each toy was carefully tallied by gender. Here are the results:
While both boys and girls fixated more on the doll than the truck, girls looked at the doll significantly more than the boys did, and looked at the truck significantly less than the boys. The researchers say babies this young don't have the motor skills to actually play with these toys, so the result must be due to different visual preferences in boys and girls. Arguably, babies at this age don't have any opinion about gender roles and don't even particularly distinguish between genders, so social influences must not be responsible for this difference.

 Alexander, G., Wilcox, T., & Woods, R. (2008). Sex Differences in Infants' Visual Interest in Toys Archives of Sexual Behavior, 38 (3), 427-433 DOI: 10.1007/s10508-008-9430-1

Also, for further reading, here is a link to an article on a book about the differences between boys and girls: