Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Rock Band New Year...

We have been playing Rock Band constantly since Danny opened it on Christmas Day. I have become the drummer, Skylar the basist, Danny the lead guitar, and Eliza the fan/cheerleader/wardrobe consultant. Eliza had us wearing rock outfits by the end of the night and took all of the pictures. I thought I would just post a few photos of these photos of us rocking in the New Year.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy Holidays!

I am so glad I got my holiday decorating and most of my shopping done prior to the holidays this year. We invited Dan, Liz, Hailey, and Hayden to stay at our house the weekend before Christmas; it would have been much less relaxing if I was worrying about decorating and shopping that weekend too. Thank goodness their trip from Colorado was uneventful weather wise, and their kids were angels as well. Liz, you are such a planner and my hero... Hailey and the girls played pretty well together, and I am grateful they had this cousin time. Hayden was pretty close to mama most of the time, but I was able to cuddle and rock him nearly to sleep on Saturday night, which was VERY sweet and special to me. It was so nice to be able to share our home with them and see them every day for a few days. I miss them so much already. With Liz, Dan and Danny's help we hosted Christmas with Dad and Carol on Saturday, Dec. 20 and the Dingeman's, Findlay's and Grandma Mase on Sunday, Dec. 21st. We had ham both days along with several salads, vegetables, rolls, and many desserts. There were lots of left overs both days. Thank God for 2 fridges. Surprisingly, the cooking didn't cause me to go screaming into the woods, but I was a little worried it would at times. Thanks to the family for being so patient and loving and just being gracious guests overall! Love you ALL.

On Saturday, the kids soaked up lots of Grandma and Grandpa time and got lots of toys. Skylar loved her Spa kit and Eliza loved the Pixos and Moon Sand. They couldn't wait to start playing. We had all of the spa kits done by the end of the day and pixos and moon sand littered the kitchen table in no time. I have said it before, but it is so fun that Skylar and Eliza have Grandparents that love to PLAY. They also each got personalized bath towels, and it was surprising how excited they all were over those. It really is the little things sometimes... Sunday, the meal was later in the afternoon and gave us plenty of time to have a leisurely morning and set up slowly for the big meal, so Dad and Carol were able to come back over in the morning to visit and play some more.

17 adults and 4 kids is a lot for my little house. Surprisingly, there were several seats left at the tables at mealtime, because the younger crowd and the guys migrated to the basement to watch Christmas vacation and chat. The present opening was not quite as stress free with us all in our living room, but what's Christmas without a mound full of wrapping paper and screaming kids.... They each got some fun toys that they played with for the rest of the night. Why is present packaging such a pain?!?? The adults drew names again this year, and I love to see what each of us finds for each other. Dan gave me a Ryan Adams CD and a candle, and Liz gave Danny a remote control helicopter. Perfect gifts. I love candles, and always love listening to new music artists. Danny is a big kid, so what's not to love about a remote control toy? Eventually, the drums and guitars came out in the basement with Danny and the Findlay kids and Dan, John, and I played Cribbage. I am so thankful that we have a family that enjoys each other and that Grandma was well enough to enjoy the holiday with us as well.

We spent Christmas Eve at Jenn's with the Cunningham, Brant, Herrick and Eiteman families as is tradition. We were missing a very important family member again this year with the passing of Grandpa Cunningham. Our gift to Grandma Mary was a quilt with some of his old photos on it that she could cuddle with. We all had a good cry. Funny how the emotion of the holiday just sort of hit us like a ton of bricks once the gift was opened. I hope it is something Grandma can hug and enjoy everyday.

Christmas Eve usually means opening PJs, feeding the reindeer and leaving cookies for Santa. We did all of these things, but we had another surprise this year. We gave the kids a kitty for Christmas and she was waiting in a kennel under the tree when we got home from Jenn's. Eliza, said,"Did Ryobi have a baby?" (Ryobi is our other cat) when she say her and Skylar almost started crying worrying about Ryobi's feelings getting hurt....not exactly the reaction we were hoping for. Oh well...time will help with the bonding. I just love our new kitty. We named her Coco, and she has the markings of a Siamese but is just a stray from Grandpa Dave's. He and Sandra did a great job training her and she has acclimated to life at our house very well! No accidents and only a few minor fits from Ryobi...Time will help her too, I hope.

We had a leisurely morning at home to open Santa gifts and gifts from each other. Danny got Xbox and Rock Band 2 while I received a Memory Bound Gift Card and an AWESOME makeup mirror even though we weren't supposed to exchange gifts.(Why does that never work?) The girls got shoes, boots, robes, DS games, movies, toys, coloring books, candy, more Pixos, you name it they got it. I think there were 8 or 9 gifts each. They were excited by everything and nothing is better than a child's face at Christmas. I am so grateful that Danny purchased a digital video camera recently...there are some priceless moments on film.
Christmas Day was hosted at the Herricks with the Wrights, Herricks, and Campbell's. Grandma Jo and Joell made a wonderful meal and there were TONS of gifts as usual. The kids got some fun new toys that were on their list. Danny and I got a new toaster which was much needed. I think our last one was 20 years old...I also got some Ugg boots, a new watch, sweater and shirt, and money for a new winter coat. Danny got some much needed new shirts and some guitar books he had asked for. Thanks Santa Jolene and Neil.
We were also able to spend the 26th, 27th, and 28th at home together as a family loving our new kitty and enjoying each other...I have so much to be grateful for.

Friday, December 12, 2008

We're BACK from the Carribean...

Well, we are finally back home after a long day of traveling yesterday. Our flight was delayed 2 hours, so we didn't arrive until after 1am. Boy, did sleeping in our own bed feel nice! Unfortunately, the ground feels like it is still moving after so many days on a boat, though.

We had quite an adventure on and off the boat. We spent most of our money on pictures, drinks, and cigars on the boat. ( I know...cigars...gotta try something different once in a while) Such fun! The cigar bar was our favorite quiet place on the ship to talk and meet other people. We had to leave the ship before we got too attached or had to take out a second mortgage on the house. : ) There were also some great stage shows as well as a couple of good rounds of trivia that kept us busy while on the ship. Amazingly, we didn't use the hot tubs and only dipped in the pool while sun bathing for a couple of hours. There's so much to time for sitting around.

Our first port was Grand Cayman. Joan, Kevin, Tim, Jenn, Danny, and I went snorkeling while Grandma and Kathy went 100 feet down in a submarine. We all saw some wonderfully colorful fish and the snorkeling boat even took us over a shipwreck. Very cool experience and extremely peaceful. I could have done it all day, if the water was a little warmer. Can't wait to see the pictures from the underwater camera. We spent some time shopping in Grand Cayman as well, and Danny bought me a gorgeous Ammolite pendant and earrings. Ammolite is a fossil mined in Canada and is very rare. It has several colors in the stone and looks different depending on the lighting.

We spent the next port day in Jamaica. Joan and Kevin went on a tour of a spice factory and pottery shop. Grandma and Kathy toured Jamaica with a tour guide and did a little shopping. Jenn, Tim, Danny and I went on a muddy, dune buggy ride. It was a BLAST! You couldn't even tell what color our shirts were originally when we were finished. We also jumped off of a 15 foot cliff into the ocean when we were done. There are some muddy pictures below, but this is only half way through the course. After we cleaned up on the ship and had lunch, we also ventured out to a beach and did some shopping near the pier. I just love the people of Jamaica. So laid back and happy. Irie, Mon.

The last day at sea was very warm, and we finally laid out and dipped in the pool for a couple of hours. We never did use the ship's hot tubs. We had a pretty relaxing last day on the ship and had to spend some time creatively packing. We only had carry on luggage and had them packed pretty full when we arrived. Good thing our purchases were small items...

Overall, it was a great vacation and good times with friends and family. I was so proud of Grandma, considering she had never been out of the country before. She just went with the flow and experienced quite a bit of the culture and met several new people in and out of the ship.

We are cruisin' again in February on the same ship. At least we have a lay of the land now.

We missed the kids horribly and it sounds like they were getting a little mopey missing us the last couple of days. Thank goodness for such WONDERFUL grandparents to watch over them when we were gone. They played, fed the kitties,and made Christmas cookies with Grandma and Grandpa Peterson. They did a lot of crafts, drawing, and painting with Grandpa David and Sandra. We are so thankful that the kids had the chance to experience time with the grandparents and experience a good spoiling too.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Holiday preparations...

You would all be very proud of me. Procrastinator Cunningham, as I sometimes call myself, is actually more prepared than EVER for the holidays. I have a couple more items for the girls to buy and a card to make to put some cash in for my brother and cousin. Other than that. I am DONE shopping, wrapping, and decorating. I even have all of the December birthday gifts bought and wrapped except one. I do still need to buy birthday cards.

I am actually so amazed and relieved that I may actually have the possibility to enjoy the holiday rather than rush through them this year. Amazing!!! The girls and I even kept up our charitable tradition today. We filled 3 garbage bags with shoes and toys that they don't use anymore and took them to Goodwill in Ankeny. We also dropped a new unwrapped toy off at the Toys for Tots box at Toys R Us. They felt very good to be helping others and as a bonus made room for the toys they hope Santa is bringing them this year.

Some nights I think it is all a distraction from the mounds of laundry, dusting, and bathroom cleaning, but those will always be there no matter what.
Here are a couple of pictures of the girls with Santa today. Eliza wants puppy in my pocket, jungle in my pocket, and a Dora Mermaid. Skylar was too shy to tell him anything. She just kept giggling. : )

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Snow Reindeer and other wintry fun...

It seems like the only day I am blogging lately is Sunday, so it must be the most exciting day of my week... Today my snow bunnies and I had a great time outside.

Danny and I hung Christmas lights on the house for the first time in 8 or 9 years. It wasn't without its drama and at least 3 trips back to the store for extension cords, more bulbs, and one return; however, I LOVE the result. It will be so nice and peaceful to come home to our pretty lights each night. For some reason I am in the holiday spirit more this year than I can ever remember! I have already wrapped all of the presents I have bought, which is about 20 of them including 2 December birthday gifts. CRAZINESS!! I have even started our Christmas cards and made a little craft project last night. I will have to take a picture of it when it is done and share.

Since, it was almost 40 degrees today, we used it to hang up the lights, and the girls used it to play, roll, throw, scoop, and shovel the snow while it lasted. Skylar started a snowman as the day warmed up and made wet snow. We decided to make a Snow Rudolph with a clown nose and antlers. I really thought the result was adorable! I am sure the birds will pick out the raisin eyes, and he will melt his nose off before the week is up. We will see. I really had a lot of fun helping Skylar too. Danny will say it distracted me from helping with the lights, but they got done anyhow.

I am very thankful to Danny for being supportive and taking on the lights project this year, and for having the time at home to enjoy the kids this weekend!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday funnies...

Well, I had a couple of those 'out of the mouth of babes' moments today. It is pretty amazing what you hear when you sit still long enough to hear what your kids are saying. I spent the day at home today with the girls. I played beauty shop with Eliza and helped Skylar clean out one of my old work bags to use, and they were thrilled...why can't all days be filled with such fun? Now, for the stories...

We stepped out of the house for a little bit to pick Skylar up from piano lessons, and the girls spotted a police car on the side of the road up ahead with its lights on. They both became slightly agitated and Eliza started whimpering a little. I asked her what she was upset about and she said, "Mom, don't make that noise that the race cars make...I don't want you to go to jail." I agreed that I would be careful but quietly laughed to myself. Apparently, I have squealed the tires in my rockin' Chevy Malibu with the great V6 with more torque than necessary one too many times. : ) The small thrills of a mother have turned into an example of rebellion for my kids. They are ALWAYS watching aren't they?!? Guess my fun is over for a while...just a little while...

Later tonight, Eliza came to ask me if Danny and I could eat with her and Skylar tonight. She said, "We like it when you and Daddy picnic with us instead of going downstairs for dinner. Please will you eat with us?" (Another proud motherly moment.NOT! I shouldn't need a reminder to eat together as a family.) We were home all day together, but they were still craving time with us...just a little more time...I was happy to oblige and need to remember to give them this time more often without their friendly reminders.

Love you, girls, and counting my many blessings tonight.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

11th Wedding Anniversary

Happy Anniversary, Danny!!!

We have made it 11 years. Danny took me out to Bravo! for dinner and for a little shopping at Jordan Creek Mall to celebrate. We also managed to make a late show too.

It was a great night together in a time in our life that seems like we never see each other. Both of us are busy running in opposite directions to work or to the kids' activities.

Gotta love having a partner and best friend in this crazy life, though. Love you , Honey!

Monday, November 3, 2008


I love, love, love Halloween! This year was no exception. The girls dressed up several times with parties at dance, school, and Aunt Joell and Uncle Buddy's besides the usual trick or treat night. Danny became a real pro at Eliza's clown makeup. Here are a few photos of the girls and the cousins in action.

Joell and Buddy also planned a great family costume party on 10-31. They did such a great job planning games for the kids, and the adults had a lot of fun too. Such cute costumes, and a great excuse to act a little silly. Here are a few photos of us crazy adults too.