Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy Birthday Tom!

My hubby celebrated his first of many 29th birthdays on Sunday. We had a quiet day to ourselves (plus the kids) and enjoyed being HOME from all of our holiday travels. To let Daddy sleep in on his special day, the kids and I went to H-E-B early that morning to get a few birthday necessities. Brock picked out the balloon and I took care of the giftwrap. We picked up breakfast on the way home, and returning at nearly 10:15am, found the birthday boy still in bed. I think we did good!
I always love Tom's birthday, because for the next 4 months, he's as old as I am!!!

Now, for some birthday entertainment...
Yesterday Tom took the kids to school (hey, we're paying for it anyways...why not send them for a day?) while we spent the day at home to ourselves. One of the highlights of the day was playing on my new wii fit. (Totally cool by the way.) But, I nearly fell out of my chair laughing at one point. Tom was trying out the hula hoop activity. He didn't know, but I was recording him via the camera. Here's the video for your enjoyment! (This is also a good test to see if Tom actually reads my blog!!!) Oh, and afterwards, he was STRICTLY instructed there will be NO recording Lori wii-ing!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Round 7 "wrapped" up our Christmas holidays in Cuero. We spent the day with Lori's mom and siblings. Brock and Aubree had ANOTHER great Christmas and one of these days I'm going to have to explain to them that most kids don't get to experience Santa SEVEN times in one year!!

We especially like to spoil Nana. I think she liked her necklace! Either that, or it just bit her!

Would you believe this giraffe is not for Brock? It's for Baby K's nursery! It will go perfectly in his jungle themed room! Brock enjoyed helping everyone open their gifts!

Aubree decided she would be a good sister and allow Brock to open her presents for her, since he enjoyed it so much. Either that, or by the 7th Christmas, she was tired of opening. ;)

Our Family!
We also went on our annual trip through Christmas in the Park. It's a beautiful lights display in Cuero! We enjoy rolling down the windows and watching Brock point out all his favorites. His particular favorite was the Santa in the airplane, but Mommy always likes this one!
Here is our massive Brother, Jeffrey. As a senior in high school, he's nearly as tall as the christmas tree! In this picture, he is holding his goddaughter, in the very same outfit HE wore on his first Christmas back in 1990! To THINK JEFFREY WAS EVER THAT SMALL! (Made it easy for me to dress him up in baby girl clothes, and drop him on his head while strolling down the street though!)

This concludes our holiday adventures...or the "Tour of Texas". We love spending time with so many family members...I just wish we could spread out the joy and not try to cram it all in 5 days!

Round 6 - Victoria

New post! (We're ALMOST DONE with the Holiday recap!)
Round 6 was spent in Victoria with Lori's Grandma and their extended family. At this house we were only missing 3 cousins and 1 aunt! That's really good stats!!! This is my mom's side and she has 4 brothers & sisters. They each have a spouse. And between all of them, they have 14 kids, 3 kid-in-laws and now 5 great grandkids! That's another full house!

GG introduces Aubree to Tag...again. One of these times she'll remember! ;)

Our own Little Guitar Hero serenaded us with his jammin!
We had a great day with everyone. What's funny about growing up is that you never really grow up. I think my cousins (mostly the ones in their late 20s) had more fun playing with Brock & Aubree's toys! They even managed to make Spike (the dinosaur) into a drinking game!! What is the world coming to when a 3-year old toy is a drinking game. (That world is my family! Gotta love them!!)

Flip Cup...a rematch from Thanksgiving!
Cousin Thomas teaches Aubree the basics of 42. She looks a bit perplexed. Maybe next year?
Even though this family likes to have some rowdy fun...and we ARE fun! And use 3-year old toys for drinking games, we never forget why we are here in the first place. Every year we sing Happy Birthday to Baby Jesus and blow out the candle on the Angel Food Cake. Great tradition Grandma! And one I'd like to keep around in my family until my days of grandmotherhood.

Merry Christmas again to everyone! And Happy Birthday to you, Jesus! Thank you for the life we have.

And not to forget...our BIG NEWS for Christmas...Aubree ROLLED OVER for the first time! Yea Aubree! Unfortunately, she likes to do it ninja style and is really sneaky. We haven't actually witnessed it yet! She'll go down for a nap on her tummy, and wake up on her back!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Round 5 - Christmas Eve in El Campo

Round 5 was spent in El Campo at Lori's Grandmother's house. We were only missing one out of the five families! With as many out-of-staters we have on that side...that is pretty good!

We started out the festivities with a trip to the annual Novak Christmas Party. This is a party with my Grandma and her two sisters and their whole families! There are LOTS of generations...and LOTS of hugs...and LOTS Of "wow, look how big ___ has gotten!". :) Aubree was quite a hit!

Here are the Novak Sisters: Evelyn (Lori's Grandma), Martha & Lillie
Some of the cousins. We're missing Meredith, Jeffrey, Dede, Scott, Susan, Christopher, Ashley, Megan & Casey.

Shown are: Tom, Lori, Bret, Lisa, Kristen, Stella, (bottom row:) Allison & Rebecca

Lori & Tom at the hot & humid Novak Family Christmas Party
Aubree: "Um, in the world can you sleep when that thing you call a fan is going around and around and around. That is simply AMAZING!"

Waiting for Grandma to say "Let's GO!" before the Novak Party. As Aubree eyes mommy's glass of wine.

Every year, Santa makes a special trip to Grandma's house to bring presents to all the grandchildren. The grandchildren's gifts are getting smaller...but it's time to ramp up for the Great Grandchildren! Always a new "Santa"...we inducted Bret into the family this year! Bret will be marrying my oldest cousin on that side, Estella. They are getting married in May and now that he has proposed...we can start showing him the true colors of the Dornak Family! :)

Bret & Estella

A visit from none other than SANTA!!! Brock was very excited!
Aubree is having a hard time believing this! Woah, is that REALLY YOU Santa??

Some of the crowd at Grandma's House

Round 4 - El Campo

For those of you still reading...from round 1. I'm proud of you!!!

Round 4: Tuesday night, 12/23 - spent in El Campo with Lori's Dad, his wife, brother and sister. We were missing one sister who was in Mississippi with her in-laws.

The highlight of this round was losing power for a little over an hour...just MINUTES before we were due to open presents! Brock was all excited, and just waiting for Daddy to get out of the shower. As luck would have it, Tom had to take the second half of his shower in darkness. I held a flashlight over the stall for a while! It was pretty funny...or just "redneck" to watch Tom, Jeffrey and myself pull out those little clip on lights that attach to the rim of your hat. The boys had them from hunting, and I managed to grab an extra from Tom's pocket. Now, try explaining to a nearly 4 year old why we can't just "turn the lights back on". I told them they were broken.
Thank goodness we regained power in about an hour and just in time to resume present opening before bed.

Mom & Dad playing with Brock's cool new race car toy!

And this is what Tom gets for falling asleep! Mean ol' Mere!

Round 3.5

For a couple days between Round 3 & Round 4, Lori hung out in Cuero with her mom and the kids while Tom went hunting. Tom had the opportunity to go deer hunting Monday morning with his brother Craig and their long-time friend, Thornton. On Tuesday morning, they went duck hunting, but this time were joined by their Dad, Tony and another long-time friend, David Sohrt. Tom was quite successful! He killed a doe Monday morning, and the group managed to shoot 47 ducks on Tuesday morning! Good Guiding David!

What did Lori do to kill time?
1. Take pictures of her adorable children.

2. Watch Brock play with Spike (ok, I played too!)

3.With Mom's help, we began decorating Dede's nursery! My nephew is due at the end of April, and Dede gave me full reign to design and begin decorating her nursery! What a treat for me! I could have done even more had time and children-watching not been a factor!

I just LOVE Aubree's nursery. But I must say, this one might be a close second! We still have another brown "tree trunk" panel to make, and a green casing on the curtain rod so you don't see as much white...but it's going to be adorable!

Round 3: Hillje, TX

Round 3 was in Hillje, TX on Sunday, 12/21. We celebrated Christmas with Tom's Dad, Grandmother and lots of family.

Highlights from the day ...because it's taking a lot of time to write these and Aubree needs a bath! :)

Grandma Benich got to have all three of her Great Grandchildren together at the same time!! I love this picture of Dorothy & Aubree. Their colors go perfectly together.

Aubree held her bottle all by herself! (OK, so not consistently, and she still requires help...but she's growing up so fast!)

The very "cool" snowman cake, courtesy of Aunt Maureen! And consequently, Brock's 2nd Black tongue of the Christmas Holidays!
Grandma, the Benich Boys, and the Benich great grandkids!

Spike made his grand debut! Thanks Grandpa Tony & Grandma Julie!
Aunt Lori enjoyed more time with her one and only precious niece, Avery!

And a more typical in Tom's hand...and kids not cooperating for a picture!

More good times in Hillje! So...let's bring on Round 4! (There are only 7 total...we're almost done...hahahahaha!)

Round 2 - Christmas in SA

Round 2: 12/20 - Christmas in SA with Tom's Mom, Sister, Brother, Sister-in-law and our precious niece!

We began round 2 on Friday night. Craig, Cathy & Avery came to our house after the graduation celebrations had ended. This brings us to the beginning of OPERATION NORTH POLE!!
Through our conversations Friday night, we discovered a Christmas Disaster! After opening two gifts to verify, we discovered Grammy & Aunt Cathy had gotten Brock the same gift...because Mommy told them both the same thing when she thought she told them differently! Under normal circumstances, no big deal...but, for a month leading up to the big day, any time you asked Brock what he wanted Santa to bring him...he replied: The track with the barn. (aka, the geotrax airplane set with the fly-through barn) So, now the kid has two fly-by bridges (the coordinating pieces), but no barn!
What a WONDERFUL FATHER AND UNCLE he has! At MIDNIGHT, Tom and Craig set off for walmart. They stop in at the walmart at 281 & 1604 and are disappointed to see not one barn in sight.
Not ready to give up, they get back in the truck and head west on 1604 to the walmart at DeZavala & I-10. About 5-10 miles down the road, on a very foggy night, an SUV flies by, and about a half mile later loses control, swerves, and flips! It was a good thing Tom was paying attention. The tailights were barely visible through the fog, but his alertness kept them from T-boning the SUV for a real disaster. Knowing the fog may catch other drivers unaware, Tom and Craig jump from the truck. Craig runs to the scene of the crash as Tom dials 9-1-1 and tries to re-direct traffic on 1604 with his flashlight! When the 9-1-1 operator asks who they should send...he hastily replies: "Send EVERYONE!" He calls me at this point saying...they may be a little late!
No less than a Christmas miracle, the man climbs out of the upside down SUV without a scar and pulls the woman out. She had a very bad head wound and Craig used everything in Tom's mediocre first aid kit he could find to help the man apply pressure to the woman's head. I feel I may be painting a bad picture, so let me assure you that the boys both believe the woman was just fine...but probably required quite a few stitches. They were all VERY lucky!
Ok, so at this point...maybe 2am by now? A normal dad may have given up and gone back home. Not Tom & Craig! ON TO WALMART! So off they go again.


So the journey continues. At the DeZavala walmart, with hopeful hearts...they are disappointed yet again!!!
Tom knows of another Walmart, just about 5 miles further. So back in the truck they go. And arrive at the Wamart at Vance Jackson & I-10. I believe it was nearly 2:30 at this point. Cathy had woken up and could not figure out why Craig and his truck would not be home by then. She wakes me up and through my sleepy head, manage to mumble something about a wreck, 9-1-1 and 1604. Do you think I freaked poor Cathy out just a bit??? I guess I managed to wake up enough to give her more context and calm her fears...but knowing it was really late by now, I decided to give them a call.
As Tom answers the phone, you can hear Tom and Craig cheering in the background and I hear something like: "we just won the superbowl"!!! Are they delirious? Nope, but they FINALLY FOUND THE BARN!!!!! IT'S A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE!
So at nearly 3am, I wake up as they come home and knowing the night they had...and Tom's wrapping challenges, I wrap the final gift of Christmas. Brock will get his barn!
Before heading back to bed, Tom asks: "Do you remember what you told us before we left?" "No", I reply. Tom says: "You said this would be a night we never forget". DOH! Guess I jinxed that one!!! But they will NEVER forget it!

So, later on Saturday morning, Brock is very excited to open his and anyone else's presents. Avery & Aubree enjoyed themselves as well.

The Benich Cousins: Aubree, Brock, Avery

More of the new Airplane Tracks! We need a whole room just for Geotrax!

I just love this picture. Avery looks like she has just swept into Geotraxland and taken the natives by surprise...and they look a bit disgrunted! :) Brock better get used to it...Aubree will be checking out Geotraxland soon!

Santa was nice enough to leave a thank-you note for Brock. Even if the cookies were 3 months old! (So, Mom wasn't all together this christmas!)

We all had a great day and that afternoon, went to Chuck-E-Cheese for some fun! Can you believe it was the first time for Janet, Jenna, Avery and Aubree to go to Chuck-E-Cheese? This mom was checking out birthday prices and found them to be quite reasonable compared to what we normally spend on a house birthday!

We are pretty sure Tom & Craig had more fun than the kids!!