Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Two Good Christmases

Wow, how blessed Ben and I are. We spent the last week half in Arlington and half in Dallas with our sweet families. I am the youngest and Ben is the oldest which makes our families very different. In his, we are the oldest and the first to do everything. In mine, we're the youngest and in many things we are the last to do them. Both have their pluses and I absolutely love both!

In Arlington, we went shopping, watched a lot of What Not to Wear, and just sat around and chatted. We had Christmas with them on the night of the 23rd. Our Christmas dinner was delicious burgers from the grill with all the fixin's. Then we opened presents. Everyone was very pleased I think with their gifts. Last year, we started a tradition with Pat (Ben's mom) that she gets Cherish (my sister-in-law) and I purses. And every year, we're going to take pictures with our purses as you'll see below. I love new traditions!
We went to my family's house for Christmas eve lunch with my mom's side of the family. One of my cousins is getting married in the summer so we had fun talking about wedding and marriage details and issues. One thing we do every year is sing Christmas carols. Yep, we have song books and we all sit around and sing Christmas songs in the room to each other. It went well this year I think - more participation and organization. Something we added this year was acting out the Christmas story. We assigned parts - one to each of the 20 people in our house. We had a whole flock of sheep and shepherds, a group of angels, wise men, Mary, Joseph, and even one of the adults was baby Jesus. It was quite crazy. I was the narrator and I felt like I was directing my group of 3rd graders. What a sweet memory!

Christmas day with my family was great and then we went to see my grandmother in the afternoon and play dominoes with her. Ben won twice and I won twice. The rest of the week, Ben played golf two days with my dad in the crazy wind. I shopped with my sister Anne one day and then hung out with my sweet friends Jamie and Chelsea the next day. With my family, we saw Marley and Me and also Bedtime stories. Both were great movies and I'd recommend them to anyone. Here's some pics from the week. Happy New Year!
Cousin Emily and I as we are about to sing Christmas carols

Christmas day with my sweetie

Christmas day with my nephew Zach, sister Anne, me, and my mom

Cherish and I with our new purses! Excited faces!

Ben's mom with her new scarf and our new purses

Monday, December 22, 2008

Chill time

So its Monday but it doesn't feel like Monday. School let out on Friday for the next two weeks. What a treat. I would just be getting home around now, about to start dinner, after a day of kids, teaching, and getting things done. Well, today was totally different than that.

We woke up early - but not as early as usual - and watched a little early morning tv which we rarely do. Its just so fun to do things out of the ordinary even if they're not that exciting in and of themselves. Plus, they have cable and we don't so we can watch shows on TLC and ESPN. So then we just read, watched tv, and did crosswords for the next few hours. Later, after Ben's parents got back (did I mention we're in Arlington with the Coopers?) his mom and I went out shopping. Wow, it was busy out there. We went to Hobby Lobby, Old Navy, Staples, Target, and the UPS store all in about 3 1/2 hours. And to top it all off, its below freezing outside. I haven't looked at the weather but if there was to be precipitation anytime soon, I'm sure it would be snow. Tonight we're going to Dave and Busters with the Cooper's and Ben's brother Luke and his wife Cherish so it'll be Coopers x 3. More about the festivities later!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Cooper Christmas

Living in Houston, away from family, Ben and I like to have our own Cooper Christmas with just us two before all the big family Christmases. We are forming traditions for just our family. Since we are leaving Sunday for a Christmas week in Arlington and Dallas, this morning was Christmas morning at the Cooper residence. Last night we were exhausted from the week and went to bed earlier than usual for a Friday night. I will refrain telling you the exact early time lest we be embarrassed at how uncool it was. Anyways, at about 6am this morning, I heard Ben tossing and turning and whispered "Are you awake?" so as not to wake him up if he really was asleep. I heard a frustrated reply of "Yes." We both tried to fall back asleep but just couldn't. Going to bed at the normal time of weekday nights made us want to wake up normal weekday time. So about 6:30am we got up and started breakfast. Why is it so easy to get up at 6:30am when you don't have to? We made Grands cinnamon rolls (our new tradition) for breakfast with coffee. Then we read through the Christmas story in Matthew and Luke. I have been stuck anew with how amazing of a story and a gift it is that Jesus came to Earth for you and me. Just incredible.

Afterwards, we opened presents. I got a really sweet necklace and bracelet and Ben got a new video game. In our excitement, we went to play the new game and were met with the red ring of death for the XBOX 360. This is a new term for me but apparently the XBOX dies after a while and the on light goes red. It's kinda creepy actually. And sad. So we have to send it to the XBOX doctor to be fixed. Moving on, we looked at some more houses online and debated about built, new, old, big, 2-story, small, bedrooms, kitchens etc. So many decisions and options. Any advice on the home-buying process is advisable or if you know of a good realtor that would be helpful as well. At any rate, it was a sweet Christmas morning for the Benjamin Douglas Coopers.

Today we'll just be wrapping presents, getting together a few last minute Christmas things and cleaning our apartment so that we come back to it nice. Tomorrow is church and then heading off to the Dallas area.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Random happenings and the TREE!

Tonight, Christmas (the decorations at least) arrived at the Cooper residence. We put up our sweet little 4-foot tree, put the small collection of ornaments that we have on it and then took some pictures with it. We've got two stockings hung on the mantel or uh...counter ledge. We're making the best of what we've got. Anyways here are some pics of the tree and us and then some recent events I either didn't blog about or just didn't post a pic about...

The Coopers

Ben's cousin Anna, my sister-in-law Cherish, and I at the Arlington Mall at 5:30AM on Black Friday waiting for it to open. We were one of the first 200 people to get to Forever 21 and have a chance to win a $300 gift card...sadly none of us won. Ben's other cousin Sara was there too but somehow didn't make it in the pic.

My college friend Lindsey Bunker came to visit after 2 years in East Asia! We went bowling because she hadn't been in 2 years. I almost broke 100...it was a good round.

Random picture :)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Happy Christmas

Tonight we went and got a tree and some decorations. And, to our great surprise, when we got to Lowes, ALL the Christmas decorations (including fake trees!) were half off. Yes friends, 50% off! Oh it was so exciting. We got a tree and stockings and a few other Christmas goodies. It was a nice evening out. I can't wait to set up the tree and get things lookin' all Christmasy. I'll post a pic when its all done. Today coming home, I listened to Amy Grant Christmas for the first time this year. Any fans? It's one of my favorite Christmas albums. One goal I have for this Christmas season is to not get side tracked with gifts, decorations, and events and really focus on being thankful for and worshiping Jesus whom we celebrate on Christmas. I think in past years, I haven't done as good a job at that so I want to do better this year. There is a lot more joy in that as well. We'll still do the other things but I don't want them to be the main event this year.

Some random thoughts....

We watched The Office tonight. It was a funny one. I'm so glad Pam is back because she makes the show a lot better in my opinion.

Tomorrow night we have a Christmas party with our Sunday School class and I'm bringing Peppermint bark...mmmmm!

Tomorrow is Friday and that equals my Friday latte from Starbucks, a lighter day at school, leaving earlier, fun night plans and staying up later than normal. So fun.