Christmas Goodies

This time of year I am transformed into something that I'm normally not, sort of a combination of Betty Crocker and Martha Stewart. I spend hours looking at holiday magazines, reading recipes and cruising the internet and Pinterest for food ideas and crafts to make and mix up for Christmas. These are just a few of the goodies I made this year (with Becca's assistance) - sugar cookies, Hug and pretzel snacks, dipped peppermint oreos, and my grandma's Martha Washington candy. Of course I didn't get to everything I wanted to make, but at some point you just gotta say "ENOUGH!" Happy Holidays!

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Powell Kiddos

These two cuties are waaaayyy different when it comes to photos. HE wants nothing to do with it, and SHE loves the camera!!!! :) Maybe he'll come around one day!

Diaz Family

These were the HAPPIEST kids! So much fun to shoot!

Where is He Now?

I know what you're thinking... Ryan's birthday was yesterday, sooooo Lori's being sentimental and posting his first baby picture. Wrong. I have absolutely no idea who this baby is. But I often wonder about him.... 20 years ago, I did give birth to a beautiful baby boy. And like most of the parents, we bought a photo package taken in the nursery of the hospital of "his 1st photos." A week or so after we got home from the hospital, we received our packet. I was so excited that we got it in time for Christmas, and I went out and bought a bunch of photo frames, and gave all of them out for Christmas gifts! Never once did it even occur to me that.... this didn't look like Ryan at all, but instead I thought "oh my goodness, they just change so quickly." And I had been drugged up pretty good, so what did I know? And it also never occurred to me that I had never seen the sleeper he was dressed in, but I just assumed that was something the nursery had put on him for the photo. And I didn't think it was odd at all that the baby in the photo had a REALLY red rash on his face that I had never noticed on Ryan. I was a first time mom, it didn't seem unrealistic that his skin might be broken out one minute, and completely cleared up the next. So, Christmas presents were given and everyone ooohed and aaahed appropriately.

Fast forward to the week after Christmas. I received ANOTHER photo packet in the mail. With these photos. That were CLEARLY my sweet baby boy. He looked just like his daddy's baby picture, and he was wearing the same clothes he was wearing when they brought him out of the nursery to me. Yes, I am Super Mom and couldn't pick my baby out of a lineup. BUT IN MY DEFENSE neither could anyone else!

So I do often wonder about Baby Number 1, and what he's doing today and what kind of young man he's grown into, or if he's EVEN A BOY... And I hope that he brought as much happiness to his mom as Baby Number 2 did to me!

Speaking of Baby Number 2, here's the Birthday Boy! I hope that your 20th Birthday was the best ever, and now the Countdown to Vegas begins!!!! Have a great year!

Three's Company!

More fall family photos... with the Smoot kids!

Brown Family

These guys were troopers... it was COOOOOLD during their shoot!!! Poor Jett's chin was quivering! But these cold kiddos still managed to be SUPER cute!


Baby Girl is 15 now! I can't believe it... just yesterday she was watching Dragon Tales and I was reading "Charlotte's Web" to her every night... Gone are the days of Barbie Dreamhouses and Crystal the stickhorse.... (by the way, she named EVERY toy or stuffed animal Crystal...) We're on to bigger things now, like Drivers' Ed! YIKES!!!!

Enjoy your year, Becca, you're only fifteen once!


Today begins the official Riggins Family Birthday Month. Before this month is over, not only will we have celebrated Christmas and New Year's Eve, but also all 4 of our birthdays. To say it's a busy (and expensive!) month is an understatement!

The festivities kick off tomorrow with Becca on the 2nd, then Ryan on the 6th, Mike's is on the 10th, and I finish it off on the 21st. We celebrate in inverse order of our ages. Yes, I'm the oldest.... but for 11 glorious days Mike and I are the same age!

People often ask if we planned it. Um, no. Ryan's birthday just worked out that way, and Becca wasn't planned at all! Both of the kids' due dates were Thanksgiving Day, and they both stubbornly held off until December. When Ryan was born, after my due date passed, we thought it would be kind of cool if he was born in December like the both of us. I was thinking more like December 1st, but he waited 8 long days past his due date to show his sweet little face and conehead. Then with Becca, lots of people weighed in with "I hope she's late, it would be so awesome if she had a December birthday like the rest of you"... I, on the hand, being 32 years old and feeling 18 months pregnant, wanted my doctor to induce me on Halloween. My mantra was "get this dang baby out of me!!!"

So the four of us have suffered through trying to plan parties around holiday events, and gifts wrapped in Santa wrapping paper, but the truth is - it's the best time of year for birthdays! Who cares that we never get to have swimming parties or cookouts - we get to celebrate when all the halls are decked, and people have a smile on their faces and a Christmas carol in their hearts. Some have suggested that we celebrate our "half-birthdays" in the summer, but what would be special about that? We'll just keep on singing "Happy Birthday" amidst strains of "Jingle Bells" and baking birthday cakes alongside Christmas cookies!

Have a happy December! We will! :)

Barnes Family

Gorgeous family! I love little boys, and these brothers were the best - they did a GREAT job in front of the camera!

For all of this and so much more...

I've been participating in the "Countdown to Thanksgiving" on Facebook, and it's made me really consider all the things I'm thankful for and all the things that matter most to me. I've heard it said "what if we only had the things we thanked God for", and that's an overwhelming thought. I want to be better at giving God all the glory for the tremendous gifts in my life, and on those days when I'm down and feeling sorry for myself, I will come back and look at this list and see how truly blessed I am.

Day 1 - At a time when so many are looking for a job, I'm very thankful to have one that I enjoy coming to every day (well... most days!) I spend as much time with these folks as I do my family!

Day 2: I'm thankful for music. It's always been a big part of my life, when I was little I remember my mom and aunt always listening to their country albums. Then when I was older I took guitar and piano lessons and was in the marching band. After high school I was in a rock band, and even today I always have some kind of music playing. I'm excited because it's time for my favorite - Christmas music!!!

Day 3: I'm thankful for my sisters! When we're together, we laugh until tears run down our legs! And if it's just two of us, we're most likely making fun of the other one.... but it's all good because we usually text them and tell them what we're saying! ♥ ya', Denise and Clydean!

Day 4: I'm thankful for modern conveniences! How often do we take for granted how wonderful it is to have running hot water, or microwaves, or cell phones? Those types of things haven't been around too terribly long, and they definitely make my life easier! I would not have made a good pioneer woman!

Day 5 - I'm thankful for coffee! I didn't become a coffee drinker until just a few years ago, but now I gotta have my two cups in the morning... add pumpkin spice creamer and I'm in caffeine heaven!

Day 6 - I'm thankful for all the joy my pets have brought to me over the years! I've told a few funny stories about them, and I'll admit to being a crazy cat lady, but through my life I've shared my home with dogs, cats, birds, fish, lizards, hermit crabs and mice, and they've all been part of the family.

Day 7 - I'm thankful for my Mama! She raised 3 daughters practically on her own because Dad traveled in his work, and she did a pretty good job! :) She's going to be 80 in 2 months, and still takes care of all of us. And as a side note, with Thanksgiving coming up, I'm particularly thankful for her cornbread dressing!

Day 8: I'm thankful for memories of my Dad. He worked hard all his life to take care of his family, he was funny, sometimes loud, ALWAYS opinionated (so I come by it naturally) and had a softspot for grandkids and little dogs. I grew up without ever having a grandpa, and so I'm happy my kids were able to be close to their PaPa.

Day 9 - I'm thankful for H.H.S. Our school is amazing, we have wonderful teachers and staff there that truly care about our kids. Ryan's a graduate, and Becca's a freshman and I wouldn't want them to go anywhere else! And I'm proud to be a Bearcat, too - Class of '81! Go Cats!

Day 10: I'm thankful I woke up early enough to take the world's longest shower! I'm the one who has to get moving first in the morning, and don't usually have the luxury of time. The shower is where I do my best thinking, and I needed some brain time this morning!

Day 11: I'm thankful for all the men and women thoughout the years that have served to keep us free. My dad was a veteran of the U.S. Navy, and on this Veteran's Day I want to send good vibes out to my nephew Chance Bloodworth, who's serving in the Navy today - love and miss you! Anchors Away!

Day 12: I am thankful for Clay County Memorial Hospital. Not only is it Mike's employer, but we are fortunate in our community to have a place filled with wonderful doctors, nurses, EMT's and staff to take care of us! Not all cities the size of Henrietta are as fortunate!

Day 13: I'm thankful for my big extended family, that's getting bigger all the time! Today is our family Thanksgiving at my sister's house, and I can't wait to see all the outlaws and inlaws!

Day 14: Today I'm thankful for good books - To name a few, all the Harry Potters, To Kill a Mockingbird, all the John Grishams and Zane Greys, Charlotte's Web and Bridges of Madison County when I need a good cry, and of course, it all began with The Bobbsey Twin mysteries oh so long ago. I've always been in awe of writers who could weave together words and ideas, sentences and characters to create the fabric of a captivating story...

Day 15: I'm thankful for Alka-Seltzer and Advil PM! They help me make it through most nights! This getting-old thing is getting old.....

Day 16: As I get ready to head out on a 6 hour drive to San Antonio by myself, I'm thankful for my iPod! With it I can listen to audiobooks to pass the time, plus I've got all the groovy tunes I love on it... Non-stop Christmas music and Bay City Rollers and Partridge Family to my heart's content!

Day 17: After being gone for 2 days, and spending 13 of the last 39 hours behind the wheel, I am thankful for my home! It's not the biggest or the fanciest house, but it's comfortable and warm and happy, and filled with people I love!

Day 18: I'm thankful for all my friends! Oldies, newbies, besties.... you each hold a special and dear place in my heart!

Day 19: Today I'm thankful for all the mistakes I've made, all the wrong turns, all the mishaps and missteps (and there have been plenty), and all of the hard lessons learned. They've helped shape who I am and I'm a little wiser for them. Some of them have been easy to overcome, and some much harder, but they're all part of me now, and I would be incomplete without them.

Day 20: I'm thankful for Dallas Cowboys Football! I've bled blue and silver all my life, I've been there for Superbowls, and I've been there for 1-15 seasons... Doesn't matter - Win, Lose, or Tie, Cowboys Fan 'Til I Die!

Day 21: I'm thankful for Ryan, my firstborn, the baby who falls on angel's wings. Even if he wasn't my son, he'd be my friend. Somewhere along the way when I was teaching him to tie his shoes and pick up his toys and say his ABC's, he taught me how to be a mom. He's my heart.

Day 22: I'm thankful for Becca, my oopsy-daisy baby, friend to all things furry. Becca is who I strive to be like, she's sweet yet strong, never says unkind things about others, and definitely marches to the beat of her own drummer. She's beautiful and smart and funny. I'm so glad God knew best, and sent her to us. She's my joy.

Day 23: I'm thankful for Mike, my best friend. Thankful for a man that changed career paths once - to better his family, and twice - to better himself. For a man that loves his children fiercely, indulges me in everything, mows the lawn, folds the whites, holds the dog when he gets his nails clipped, holds down the fort when I'm traveling on business, and holds my hand. He's my world.

Day 24: I'm thankful for all God has given me, but most of all my salvation, grateful it was given to me by grace and not by works, because I would have fallen woefully short. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! :)

+ One

This sweet couple will be making an addition to the family soon! Just in time for Christmas!

Oh, Baby!

Holy cow, is this one of the most beautiful babies ever, or what??? Meet my new great-nephew, Jonathan Kaid!

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