Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas 2011

Whew! Three days and four Christmases later, we survived Christmas 2011! We had a wonderful time celebrating the season this year with our big 14 month olds. As you can imagine, it was a little more enjoyable this year, as we weren't the sleep deprived parents of two 8 week olds. Not to mention I think the girls really enjoyed their presents a little more this year. :) We started off Christmas Eve with my family (we had also celebrated with my Aunt and Uncle on my mom's side the week before). The girls got lots of loving from their Bubba, Gigi, and Aunts Sami and Sara. Lots of cute clothes, baby dolls, and accessories for their cute kitchen they got from Bubba and Gigi a few weeks ago as an early present. Mommy and Daddy even got a new iPad from Bubba. What an awesome surprise! It was a fun time as always celebrating with that side of the family.

Family pic in front of Bubba and Gigi's Christmas tree

Our little stinker, Sophie, in front of the tree

She loooooves Christmas ornaments and calls the round ones "ball"

About as still as I could get them. They had no part of sitting and posing cutely in front of any Christmas tree.

Sophie really loved digging into the big bags

Campbell would tear off tiny pieces of wrapping paper

I'm liking this Christmas thing!

Oh my a baby doll! 

Seeing as how the girls loved Santa so much the first time they met him, we thought we'd give it another go with Bubba Santa again. Still not fans.

Playing with Bubba

We had Christmas morning at our house. Campbell seeing what Santa put in her stocking...

Do I spy a Care Bears DVD?

These girls love their books (which makes the English teacher in me swell with pride). ;)

Another active Christmas tree shot. I think they're saying "Mommy is #1"? 

Mowing the kitchen floor

On Christmas Day afternoon, we headed to Nana and Papa's. Oh how they know how to spoil their grandkids! The girls got more adorable clothes, baby dolls, toys, a new table and chairs for their playroom, and even some bassinets to put their babies in from Aunt Amber.

Campbell and Daddy opening gifts

Sophie didn't seem to need any help...

Love this pic of Sophie and Papa. 

After we got home and unloaded all of their presents, both girls climbed into their new bassinets. The funniest part is that they climbed into the right ones! This is now currently their favorite hang out spot. They also like to gather all of their toys together to put in it with them.

On the 27th, we headed to Duncan to have Christmas with my Dad's side of the family. I have a total of 9 cousins, 3 aunts, 2 uncles, and my mema on this side, so it's always fun to see the whole gang. This pic is of Aunt Sara trying to wrangle Campbell into her new, cute headband...with no luck. :)

I love this pic of Campbell. She just walked right over, dropped down and started playing with the big kids!

The whole gang! I have such great memories of growing up and spending time in Duncan with my grandparents. These Christmases are always crazy, chaotic and so much fun. I'm so glad we are able to still get together. 

And there you have it! Christmas 2011 for the Nevels. We will still be going back to Taloga for the day on January 7th to have a short gathering with Kyle's dad's side. Although it can be exhausting traveling with our two crazy toddlers, Kyle and I know how blessed we are to have such a big, loving family, so we try to keep a positive attitude in the midst of the craziness. Hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas! 


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Headband Enigma

So if you've been around my girls lately, you may have noticed that we very rarely, if ever, wear headbands/bows anymore. While I've always been a little picky about what I put on my girls' heads, I've always thought a little bow here and there is cute and enjoyed putting them on the girls until they, all of a sudden one day, decided they enjoyed ripping them off their own and each other's heads more than they enjoyed wearing them. As seen in a previous post, Campbell has been a fan of putting her blanket on her head for awhile now. That love of having a blanket on her head has extended to other objects now as well (bath toys, bowls, stuffed animals). Namely, she loves putting my headbands on her head. Anytime she notices that I'm wearing one, she will take it off my head and place it on hers as seen below. Recently she has even learned to put it on the correct way with one side behind each ear. She will walk around the house/play for 20 minutes at a time with my headband atop her head. However, the second I put her headband on her head, it's off in a matter of minutes if not seconds. 

Will I ever fully understand these crazy girls? ;)

Baby Dedications

A few weekends ago, Kyle and I had the girls dedicated at church. It was a fun day we got to spend with our families and meant so much to have them there to support us as we promised to raise our girls to become followers of Christ. Sometimes it seems crazy to me that my babies will someday grow up to be little girls, then young ladies, then someday hopefully moms and wives themselves. It's such a daunting task to think that Kyle and I will be the single most influential people in who our girls become as young women. We can only hope and pray that they come to know the Lord the way we have and know the hope, love, peace, and joy that comes with that. We also chose life verses for each girl. We tried to choose verses that captured what we hope will be our girls' outlook on life and their understanding of how God works in their lives.

Famiy pic before church

For some reason, the pics in church didn't turn out so great. :(

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest in me." 2 Corinthians 12:9

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Romans 12:12

We are getting excited to celebrate our girls' second Christmas this year (how are they already old enough to have two Christmases under their belts?!) Hoping you all have a happy and blessed Christmas.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Santa = the devil

Although this is actually the girls' second Christmas, this was their first time to meet the man in red. Last year I was far too much of a scared mom of 8 week old preemies to allow my tiny babies to sit on Santa's germy lap. So this year, my friend Stephanie Coy and I decided to take our whole gang of multiples to see Santa together (and completely blow everyone's minds at how brave we are taking 5 babies to see Santa). All morning I told the girls how much fun it would be to meet Santa, how nice he is, and how he would bring them lots of presents if they didn't throw too many tantrums between now and Christmas. They smiled and giggled as I told them, enthusiastically, all about this wonderful, jolly old man they would get to meet today.

So imagine my surprise when it turns out that the girls, in fact, believe Santa is...

...the most terrifying human being on the planet.

I tried my best to apologize to them, but I think they now distrust my every decision as their mom. They took one look at this devil man and decided they wanted nothing to do with him. 

I hear that two year olds fear him even more, so it looks like next year will be equally as torturous. 

Let's hope Santa makes a quick, discreet appearance at our house this Christmas.

Until next year... ;)


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Mug Cakes

So I recently stumbled upon these little treats on pinterest, and I can't wait to try one. I don't know about you, but 27 degree temperatures cause me to turn to warm, gooey comfort food, especially in the form of chocolate. Bonus points if all I have to do is mix a few ingredients in a coffee mug and pop them in the microwave for a minute or two. There are a total of 10 different mug cake recipes on the website from chocolate chip cookie dough mug cake (oooh Kyle would die for this) to pumpkin cake in a mug (you know me and my love of pumpkin). I'll be trying one tonight after I eat my taco soup. Oh, and most of the ingredients in them are things you most likely already have in your pantry. Thought my other frigid friends might enjoy one (or two) of these tonight, as well!


Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Sedona Thanksgiving

Our family was fortunate enough this year to get to take a fun vacation for Thanksgiving. The whole Ball family packed up and headed to Sedona, Arizona to stay in our family friends' gorgeous mountain home. I supposed "adventure" is the best way to describe traveling with 3 infants and a 3 year old. We were quite a sight cruising through the airport, and I'm pretty sure many of our flight's passengers cursed us in their minds prior to boarding. I have to say, though, the kiddos did pretty darn good. Sophie and Campbell acted as though they had been traveling for years, and were absolute rockstars on the plane. But gosh I don't know what we would have done if we didn't have our whole family there for help and support. We mostly relaxed and lounged around in the beautiful house, went on scenic walks, played some games at night, and escaped a few times to do some shopping and eating (Ball girls are pros at both of these). All in all it was a great time! Here's a few pics from the week... 

The girls checking out the plane

Sophie hammed it up and was waving at everyone on the plane. A flight attendant even asked if she could take her home with her. Ha!

CJ and Daddy reading Skymall

One of our many gorgeous views

Enjoying the scenery via stroller

Our transportation for the week: a 15 passenger van. Here come the Griswolds! Believe it or not we were able to fit 4 car seats, 7 adults, 2 strollers, and all of our luggage into this bad boy. Yes, it smelled and looked like a college dorm room by the end of the week.

Me and my girlies.

The gang minus Sam and Bubba.

Gigi and Canon racing up the hill

CJ had a bit of a rough time cutting 2 teeth while we were there and fighting a little bit of a fever. :( She was a trooper, though.

Stunning! Our friends who own the house have a saying: "When the rocks turn pink, it's time to drink!" This was the view from one of the back patios.

Don't they all look thrilled to be taking a picture?

We had so many things to be thankful for this year in our family. Hope you all had a wonderful holiday, as well. :)


Monday, November 21, 2011

Hot Topic: Twilight

So most of you who know me, know that I'm, unashamedly, a pretty big fan of the tween craze book series, "Twilight." I was reserved for a long while, wondering if the books would really be worth my oh-so-valuable time. However, as a 6th grade English teacher in the thick of hearing my little girls chatter non-stop about Edward and vampires, I thought, "Eh, what the heck, at the very least it'll give me a new topic of discussion with them." So I dove in. A few weeks later, I was finished with the series, and maybe a little bit convinced that vampires and warewolves existed, and that Edward was coming to sweep me away to our own remote island where we would have vampire babies. Ok, that's an exaggeration...sorta.
Anyways, not long after the series came out and subsequent movies, the inevitable media frenzy that followed the Harry Potter series (another great one!), took over. Preachers and parents began swearing them off as "satanic", "inappropriate" and "witch craft." At first, I dismissed them, knowing that every big cultural trend brings out the extremists, but the more I listen to it, the more irritated it makes me. When I first read the Twilight series, I was not a parent. I never gave much thought to if I would allow my future children to read them. However, I can now appropriately reflect on that. My answer? Yes, I would allow the future teenage Sophie and Campbell to read them. I would most likely be a little hesitant to allow them to read the last one, only because their is a rather graphically detailed "sex scene" between the married Edward and Bella. I think Stephenie Myer did an excellent job of bringing these characters to life, she has an inspirational story of quite literally "following her dreams", and overall, I see virtually nothing in her stories that would be a bad influence on teenage girls. I think it would be a great platform to discuss what makes Stephenie Myer a great writer, and further encourage the girls to be great, imaginative writers. I would think any parent hopes and prays their children fall in love with books, and what type of books to children typically most enjoy reading? Good fiction. Key word: fiction. As a teenager, my favorite types of books were horror books. I loved a good thriller (and by good, I mean the Goosebumps series), and other actual, really scary books that my mom couldn't understand why I liked so much. If you looked at my bookshelf as a young teenager, you probably would have pictured me as a goth kid wearing black lipstick. Alas, I was probably the furthest thing from that. I am nearly certain that it's because, from an early age, I very clearly understood the difference between reality and fiction. Credit that to me being involved in church from an early age, having good parents that were able to teach me this, or having friends that would have probably not liked me very much if I showed up to school wearing black lipstick and weird piercings. 
I say all of this because I believe that each parent acts in the best interest of their children. I'm sure I will run into parents for the remainder of the girls' youth who make choices for their children that I do not agree with and wouldn't make for my children. However, I hope and pray that I raise girls who do not look to fictional books to guide their moral compasses, but instead their faith, family, and hopefully great friends who help steer them down the right path. Reading, for me as a teenager, was fun and exciting. I can't think of a time that I allowed any of these scary books, or any book (aside from the Bible) for that matter, to dictate my actions or values. Just as I don't think playing violent video games leads to boys who bring guns to school. Essentially, I suppose what bothers me the most are these preachers, parents, etc. who seem to think that books, movies, and video games lead to bad behavior in children. It makes me want to shout to these parents, "It's really YOUR fault!" As a former teacher, I saw time after time, parents wanting to blame anyone or anything on their child's behavior, except themselves. I saw girls who read the Twilight series and took it to a ridiculous, unacceptable extreme. And I saw girls who read the Twilight series who wrote silly "I love Edward" sketches on their notebooks. The girls who took it to the extreme were the same girls who had some pretty questionable emotional issues beforehand. So was it the book's fault? Doubtful. 
You may or may not agree with my crazy ramblings, and I would not judge any parent for using intelligent discretion when it comes to what your children read. I think everyone should consider hot topics like these as a great opportunity to reflect on what you really believe. 

Until my next rant, peace, love, and Edward. :)


P.S. This guy would be one of those people that makes me cringe. I won't even get started on how many issues I have with him or his "sermon." 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fall Photos

We had quite the ordeal trying to get the girls' one year/fall family photos taken this year (yes, we combined the two photo shoots!). We had originally signed up with a wonderfully talented local photographer (Holli B. Photography), but due to weather delays and me reeeeeaaaally wanting pretty outdoor photos for the girls' one year portraits and family pics, we were forced to give up our slot after re-scheduling twice with Holli. She was so booked, she wouldn't have been able to squeeze us in until December. :( In case you didn't know, this time of year is easily one of the busiest for most photographers (I guess we aren't the only ones who like pretty fall leaves), so we were left with very limited options. Fortunately my sister has a fancy photographer camera and is a great photographer (and did I mention, free?) I had her take a few maternity pics for me while pregnant, and since she did a great job with that, I entrusted her to do a great job with our family pics. And she did indeed! Although Sophie refused a nap at all that day, leading me to believe she would hate life during our photo shoot, both girls did pretty well! We were able to get a few good family shots and lots of cute ones of the girls. Happy fall!

Daddy and his girls

Adore this one of sweet Campbell

Maybe my favorite of both girls :)

Mommy and Sophie

My favorite Campbell face

Let's be serious. The girls ripped off their bows no less than 15 times. But their dresses were too pretty not to have an accessory!

Love this girl


Leaves are fun

Big girls

Sweet Sophie girl

Campbell Jane

Sophie Kay

Thanks again, Aunt Sara, for saving the day and capturing your sweet nieces so perfectly! :)