Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Lewallen Christmas Adventure Part 1....Unplanned "Fun" in Phoenix

First thing Monday morning we headed to the airport to take off on our Lewallen family Christmas adventure. It was very early but our boys were ready to go.

Kade was all prepped and ready because he kept asking us when we were going through security because he had to take his shoes off.

Ryne, on the other hand, wasn't so worried about getting his shoes off....he just kept looking around enjoying the hustle and bustle of a Christmas time airport setting.
I have to say that we had a great experience at the airport on Monday morning. SeaTac really had their act together. The people at security were super nice and happy...even gave Kade and Ryne those nifty stickers they were wearing above. And I wish that I had kept my camera out and ready because right after we got through security we saw a real live toy soldier, Santa and his elf cruising around handing out gifts to all the children, Christmas carolers all dressed up and caroling through the was a fabulous atmosphere. And of course Kade and Ryne were really taking it all in.
Then we found this cool place:
A play place for the kiddos that they were completely excited about.
I must admit that Kyle and I were super excited about it too because it let us get the boys down and play for a while before they had to get all cooped up on an airplane.

Speaking of airplanes, Ryne practiced flying one.

And Kade tried out everything...I mean there wasn't a piece of play place that went untouched by this guy.

After a good bit of play time we loaded two happy boys up on a plane headed to Phoenix where we were going to catch another plane headed to Denver where we were going to catch another plane headed to Tulsa where Granna and Paw would be waiting to pick us up!
The boys did great on the flight and we made it to Phoenix with no problem.
The plane scheduled to take us to Denver, however, did have some problems. It was really late getting to late that we had already missed our flight from Denver to Tulsa.
Of course Kyle spent some time with the agents at the airport trying to figure out how to get to Tulsa. It was impossible! Yep, no getting to Tulsa on Monday. Our options were to spend the night in Phoenix and get to Tulsa by way of Dallas the next day or go ahead to Denver on our scheduled flight and hang out there until Christmas eve. We stayed the night in Phoenix!

Here is Kade making the most of our home for the day.
He was excited about being in a hotel with a "backyard" (courtyard) and a pool. But then he was disappointed that we didn't pack his swimming trunks. Which it wouldn't have mattered if we had packed them because we did not have any know what kind of extra fun that meant!

Here is Ryne standing at the back door just wanting so badly to get out in that "backyard" of ours.
We did let the boys go play in the "backyard" and they had a big time.
We had dinner at the hotel and Kade got to sit in these cool chairs that he admired when we first checked in:

We all went to bed at 7:15 that night because we were exhausted. It was GREAT!!!! Wish I could arrange for that to happen at least once a week at our house. We woke up nice and refreshed....well, we did have some new t-shirts that Kyle picked up for us and thankfully we had hotel soap, shampoo, toothpaste and I should say somewhat refreshed and took off for the airport again.

No problems making it to Dallas and look what we found when we got to Dallas:

Whomever came up with the idea of putting play places in airports is my hero.
I think that person is probably Ryne's hero, too!
He really enjoyed time out of his stroller.

We had a pretty long layover in Dallas. We had time to go into a restaurant to eat. Kade picked
Chili's because he sees the commercials but we don't have one near us. He loves the "I want my baby back, baby back, baby back, baby back ribs" commercial. And he was really looking forward to having some baby back ribs. Guess what....airport Chili's doesn't serve baby back ribs. I was so proud of Kade because he did not have a complete meltdown. He was very disappointed but settled for a grilled cheese sandwich and did great.
By the time we ate, played and wandered around the airport for a bit this is what we looked like:

Oh yes, you could definitely tell we were on day two of our airport extravaganza....a bit tattered and worn. We were very happy when it came time for us to board the plane headed to Tulsa.
And look who found us there:

Thanks for coming to Tulsa to get us Granna and Paw!
We were all very happy to be finished at airports for a few days.
I have to give a great big thank you to Kade and Ryne because they we
re troopers. They really did well on our extended trip to Oklahoma. We could have been miserable but we weren't. We just enjoyed getting to hang out together "as a family" as Kade would say.
Granna and Paw got us to Spiro on Tuesday night and the adventure continued.
Part 2 of the Lewallen family Christmas adventure still to come.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Fa La La La La La La La La

Deck the house with Christmas cheer...fa la la la la la la la la....
I realized that I had not shared with you some of our Christmas decorations. I absolutely love decorating for Christmas. Of course some of the decor has toned down a bit with the addition of two children to the home but we still do what we can.
As you will be able to see, I love to use nativities when I decorate. I think it keeps me remembering what Christmas is all about. Celebrating the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ! Not Santa, not presents, not snowmen, not candy canes, not....not.....not.....
Although I am certainly not anti Santa, presents, snowmen, candy canes, etc.!
I just want to be sure that as a family we don't lose focus on the reason we are celebrating.
So here ya go....celebration through photos!

This is my favorite nativity and we always put it up in the living room.

Another nativity on the mantle.
This was the night before "Christmas in DuPont" and Kade and Ryne's stockings were too heavy to leave hanging.

The snowman collection found a home over the kitchen cabinets. Sorry for a less than fabulous picture here. How bout that shiny microwave? Ha!

And more nativity:

Over the china hutch.

On top of the DVD/CD shelf.

One of my favorite things about Christmas is getting Christmas cards so I have to have a place to display them. This is hanging just inside our front door.

Our simple entry way table with another nativity.
Notice all the kid-friendly things on the floor.

Another thing that had to be kid-friendly was the Christmas tree.
Shatterproof ornaments a must!
I do have some favorite ornaments that I just hang up high.
Here are some of them:

Ryne on the left....Kade on the right.

Ryne's first Christmas ornament.

Kade's third Christmas ornament.

We also have quite a few crosses on our tree as a reminder to us of just why Jesus was die for us!

And with two little boys around we were amazed at how well our tree actually stayed together.

If you look closely down low you can see that the ribbon has been rearranged more than a few times and I assure you any low hanging balls have been rehung multiple times. However, this tree took not one tumble! Thank you Kade and Ryne for being so nice to our Christmas tree.

I hope you enjoyed our celebration in pictures.
And shucks, I didn't even get around to taking any picture of our outside lights! They were quite a celebration all themselves.
Merry Christmas, everybody!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Life Church....take 4

Hey everyone!
Tonight at 6pm will be our Christmas gathering for Life Church.
We are super excited about our fourth service getting to be all about Christmas.
If you check this out today please pray for us.
* Pray for Kyle as he brings the message of Jesus.
* Pray for our launch team as they help people connect and take care of children.
* Pray for the people of DuPont who are lost and don't know the wonderful message of Salvation that Jesus came to bring thousands of Christmases ago. Pray that for some reason they would find their way to Forza coffee shop tonight for our Christmas gathering and be introduced to Jesus Christ.

Thank you for praying for us!
There is no way that we could do what we are here to do without the many people who cry out to God on our behalf.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Happy Birthday Jesus....From the Lewallens in DuPont

Since we know Jesus never misses a post we wanted to take this opportunity to thank Him for letting us celebrate His birthday early here in DuPont.
We had a fabulous time this morning at our Birthday celebration for Jesus.
Here are the highlights....



All in between:

Kade's first look at the gifts under the tree.

Ryne wasn't sure what to think about it all.

Before we opened gifts Kyle read the Christmas story to us so we could be reminded that it is the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ that we are celebrating.

Since it is Ryne's first Christmas we let him open the first gift.

And of course Kade got to open the second gift, to which he exclaimed, "This is just what I wanted!"

There was lots more gift opening!

Ryne got pretty good at tearing into those presents.

And Kade amazed us again when he opened these movies and said, "It's Land Before Time movies...two Land Before Time movies!" He has the original Land Before Time movie and just always calls it "Dinosaurs". We had no idea that he knew the real name and would recognize the dinosaurs on the covers of the new movies.

A new "drawing pad" to share. These boys can wear out some drawing pads!

Ryne with another gift.

Kade decked out in his "Armor of God" set that he got. It might be a little big still. I think he's probably feeling like David when the King offered him his armor to go fight Goliath with. I had to laugh a bit.

See, I told you Ryne was good at unwrapping.

And it is hard to tell but this might be Ryne's favorite present of the day...a little people barn. Of course here in a few hours we will probably think something else is his favorite. At this very time his is cleaning out a cardboard box so that he can play with it. Ha Ha!

And yes, Kyle and I got gifts, too. We just aren't so good at getting pictures of us.

Check out my new hat and scarf.

And poor Kyle just got pictures because his gifts aren't in yet. If you can't tell, that is a picture of an electric smoker. Mmmmmm. I'm looking forward to some smoked salmon very soon!

And then there were the stockings all stuffed with goodies.

Kade was amazed at the giant smarties that he found in his stocking. This kid loves some smarties and wanted to know if he could eat all of his giant smarties today. Oh, no son, not today!

Then we let Kade open his last present. We made him wait and open this last for a reason....

It's his very own real skateboard!
And we knew once he saw it there would be no getting him off of it.
We were right:

The skateboard was a hit!

We are so amazingly blessed!
We all got so many great things that put big ole smiles on our faces!
But the biggest and best gift of all is the precious gift of Jesus!
Thank you Jesus for giving yourself to us so that we could experience true Joy, true Life, and true Peace. What an amazing gift YOU are!

I Got to take a Break....

It's true...I did get to take a break this week. Hired a sitter in order to have that break but it sure was nice. I'll have more to say about that later. First, let me tell you about what all we have been up to the past few days.
Tuesday was a big day for this guy:

Ryne not only likes to ride around on the cars now but he is also what I am calling a full-fledged walker. Tuesday was the day that he walked more than he crawled and he has done very little crawling since then. I love watching babies who are just beginning to walk. They are so cute the way they hold their arms to keep their balance and how deliberately they pick up their feet to take the next step. I'll have to post some video of "walking Ryne" soon.

On Tuesday afternoon we went for a family outing to Target and the Mall to finish up some Christmas shopping.
We are still in awe of the "family room" at the mall. It is a nice place to take a break and let the kiddos go free for a bit.

Kade and Ryne both enjoyed this stop. Kade also enjoys the fact that they have a potty and sink just his stool needed!

We stopped in Hallmark so that I could look for something. Ryne and I strolled around while Kyle kept up with Kade. I turned the corner and this is what I found:

Kade was picking out books for Kyle to read to him. Who knew Hallmark could be such fun?

And of course we had to stop at the "mall playground" for another play break for the boys.

Ryne really enjoyed it. He is finally big enough to actually play on all the toys.

And Kade is big enough to climb up on top of all the toys....

And jump right off!
They were both very tired when we made it home that night. Hey, who am I too kid? I was very tired when we got home that night. But we did have a fun time doing some family Christmas shopping.

Here is another thing that we've had fun doing. Watching this grow:

Kyle brought this plant home for us several weeks ago and it had one blooming stalk on it that was beautiful. Then as those flowers began to wilt we noticed another stalk starting to grow and then a third stalk shooting up behind the second. We waited for about two weeks to see this flower bloom. Kade would check on it every day to see if we had flowers yet. Finally, we have flowers and are about to have more!
Watching these flowers grow and bloom has just been a sweet reminder to me of just how amazing our Creator is!

Wednesday was Bible study at our house day...which means house cleaning day.
No fun pictures of that for you, sorry.

Thursday was "Me Day". Every Thursday morning Kyle watches the boys while I go to my ladies Bible study at the coffee shop and that is always a nice break. But this week it just wasn't enough of a break for me. So, Thursday afternoon I hired a baby-sitter for a few hours and took off.
Just look at this:

This my friends, is a childless buggy!
I sight rarely seen in my world so I had to take a picture.
I know, we had just been shopping, but I didn't get finished. Had to get a few more stocking stuffers and craft supplies for LifeKids coming up on Sunday night. I was only gone for three hours but it was a sweet three hours. I listed to Christmas music in the car instead of noisy boys and whatever DVD Kade had picked out to watch. I didn't have to look for a parking place close to an empty buggy for loading up my children. Hey, I didn't even use a buggy in one store that I went into. I carried only a purse and not a huge diaper bag. It was so nice to have a break, y'all. I can't even tell you how much I enjoyed measly three hours out. And I think I enjoyed it more because I wasn't worried about whether or not the boys were behaving for Kyle and if he was going to be calling to see when I was coming home to rescue him. I was paying someone to take care of them. She was getting paid to change diapers, get snacks, clean messes, read books, etc. Sure made me consider building in a section of our budget to pay for a babysitter three hours once a week next year.
So, to all my Mommy friends out there...I'm wishing you a three hour break of your own this holiday season....even if you have to pay for's totally worth it!

And then came Friday...not a kid-free day....but a very fun day just the same.
Our neighbors took us all out for Korean food for lunch. We had such a fun time with them.
And it was a new adventure for us. Check out the food....

Tons of food and you cook it on a grill right smack dab in the middle of your table!

Mrs. Michelle came prepared for all four of our boys...

Carson and Kade had their own place mats and snacks and books to read and cars to drive.

Will and Kade had quite a stock of coloring books and crayons on their end of the table.

And check this out:

Will had his very own chop help needed from you Daddy Dave.
And guess what....

They brought Kade his very own pair of chop sticks as well! He thought it was super cool and did a pretty good job with them. Too cute to watch a two-year old eat with chop sticks for the first time.
Great big thanks to Dave, Michelle, Will and Carson for taking us out to lunch. We had a great time and we are so glad to have such fun neighbors!

And the kids kept coming...bigger kids this time.
Friday night we had some other friends over for dinner. Brad, Anndria, AnnaLisa, Tori, and Vaughn came over for the evening. I did the good old standby easy dish of poppyseed chicken. And we all just hung out and had fun. The kiddos disappeared upstairs to play and when I went to check in on them this is what I found in Kade's room:

A rock concert! They were having a great time. And it was so nice to have kiddos that were old enough to let them go and play without having to be right with them. They are so good with Kade and Ryne and such good sweet kids.

Of course Ryne had to come downstairs to entertain us adults some.

Here he is with Anndi.

And with Kade's foam sword that he has learned to use. We got quite tickled watching him walk around and swing the sword while yelling out his best "aaarrrggg" just like his big brother.
Know what this means???? Ladies and Gentleman, it would appear that I now live with two little pirates! Oh dear, this is going to get even crazier...I can feel it coming.

After we got our little pirate boys to bed last night there was work to be done.
What kind of work?
The present wrapping kind of work.
After a couple of hours this is what we ended up with:

A tree all ready for Christmas morning.
And that is what we had here today...our very own Lewallen birthday party for Jesus!
We decided that since we would be out of town on Christmas day that we would just have our own Christmas morning before we left.
And today has been lots of fun!
I'll work on that post next.
Until then, can you guess what might be in any of those boxes?