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Welcome to my little corner of the world. I am so honored by your visit today. My name is Kristi and I am married to my college sweetheart(I refer to him here as "Mr. Incredible"), momma to my 2 beautiful girls who are growing much too quickly, a high school computer teacher, photographer, and a gardener (at times~right now I'm growing weeds). I love to laugh, drink strong Starbucks coffee, take pictures, and be anywhere my family is. Jesus is my Savior and I try so hard to be the wife and momma that He has called me to be. I often fail but He lovingly picks me up, dusts me off, and encourages me that with Him all things are possible. Feel free to join me on this journey of faith, stop in and say hello, look around, and leave a comment~I love comments. Why "Kiki's Corner?" My nephews call me Aunt Kiki and I love that too.

Wrapping Up Christmas

Can you believe Christmas is over?  I really can't wrap my mind around that fact.  I still have my decorations up, I'm just not ready to put them away just yet.  Normally, my decorations are up by my birthday, November 17th, but I was so busy with photography that it didn't happen.  I was happy to have the house decorated by December 10th but I don't feel like I've enjoyed them long enough yet.  Can anyone relate?

After our whirlwind trip to Tulsa and then our surprise trip to the Gaylord Texan, we returned home to 8 huge boxes on our front porch.  They were filled with the last photography orders of 2010.  My family helped me to quickly put it all together and then we delivered them to happy clients.  It was fun!  Thursday morning, I hit the grocery store with everyone else in town, delivered my last 2 photography orders, and then came home to begin fixing my things for Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day dinner. 

My brother surprised all of us by coming to town Thursday afternoon.  It was so good to see him!   We enjoyed Tortilla soup at mom's house Thursday evening complete with Julio's chips and salsa and Pw's pico/guacamole dip.  Yum! 

We celebrated Christmas with my parents and brother on Christmas Eve.  Here is my brother, Tim:

The house smelled so good as mom put the finishing touches on our delicious meal:
My dad, Grandpa, and the girls looked through his "I Spy" books:

And then it was time to pray and eat.  Yum!

I thought Rachel looked so pretty at Granny's table that I had to stop and take a picture:

It was cold outside, I can see my friends who live up north rolling their eyes because it is really cold where they live, so my parents had built a lovely fire in the fireplace.  I found Hannah and Granny sitting by the fire.  I love this picture:
My three favorite girls!

I handed my camera to Mr. Incredible to take our picture and this is what we got.  I'm thankful to have it.  Three generations together around the Christmas tree...what a blessing!
I love this picture too:

In the middle of filling photography orders and going on photo shoots, I somehow found the time to put together a custom album of our St. John, USVI trip that we took this summer.  I was thrilled with how it turned out and couldn't wait to surprise my parents.  I can tell by the expressions on their faces that they like it too.  Fun memories together!
As always, ever since I was a little girl at my Granny's house (my mom's mom) we have placed this Nativity on top of a special cake and sung happy birthday to Jesus.  I think it is one of my favorite traditions.  My eyes are filling up with tears as I remember singing with my granny and mom and dad....and how precious to be able to sing with my parents, my brother, my husband, and my girls.  It is a mighty fine gift to see my girls singing happy birthday to Jesus with their Granny and Grandpa!

This beautiful cake was made by my brother's, "friend."  And just between you and me, we hope she is the one mom and I have been praying for over this past year.  But, don't tell, okay?  Ok.

I have to giggle when I see the next two pictures.  I am the one who does her Christmas shopping in July, decorates on November 17th,  begins playing Christmas songs the day after Thanksgiving, has presents wrapped and under the tree by December 1st, and bakes for my husband's fellow employees and makes pw's homemade cinnamon rolls for friends and neighbors.  Did I do all of that this year?  Nope!  It was a first for sure but that's okay! 

I wrapped the gifts on Christmas Eve afternoon.  Really, I did.  It was almost the year of "close your eyes and get a big surprise!"  I wasn't sure that the gifts were going to get wrapped but somehow, just in the nick of time, they did. 

Hannah did a little decorating of her own this year too:
The girls woke up at 8:15 Christmas morning.  It was a fun time together.  Hannah adores anything with owls, vintage, and hamburgers. I found this IPhone cover online and knew she would love it.  Her face proves that I was right!

I found these cute glasses and decided to put them in their stockings too:
We unwrapped presents and then made the mistake of watching Toy Story 3 together.  Mr. Incredible hadn't seen it so it seemed fitting to watch it together.  Have you seen the movie?  Andy is getting ready to go off to college.  Oiy!  Mr. Incredible and I both sobbed after the movie.  We are not ready for Rachel to go off to college! Stinkin' movie!!!!

We got ourselves together and got ready to go to Nonnie and Poppie's house.  My youngest nephew, our youngest "lieb" got a new game from Santa and he was mesmerized by it
Nonnie set a beautiful table as always:
While the food finished cooking, we opened presents. 

We gave the boys remote controlled cars and they took them outside to try them out.  That's our oldest nephew standing in front of my rattlesnake-killing-suburban.  Speaking of rattlesnakes, yuck!, have you seen True Grit?  We saw it this weekend and it was great but there is a scene with a few rattlesnakes in it, but I didn't see it because my man knows me well and he covered my eyes while they were on the screen. 
And our youngest nephew playing with his new car:

This is my brother-in-law, "Uncle G," who likes gun A LOT, a lot!  How fitting that Nonnie and Poppie gave he and Mr. Incredible these lighters:

Like father, like son!

It was a blessed Christmas with fun memories to treasure.  How was your Christmas?

Ice, Ice, Baby!

On our grand adventure at the Gaylord Texan we were blessed to see their famous ICE exhibit.  This years' theme was Peanuts and we knew we did not want to miss it.  We missed getting tickets to the Tuesday evening show so we just had fun taking pictures outside.

But we were blessed to get tickets to the 9:30am show Wednesday morning.  Woo hoo!  I believe there are over 2 million pounds of carved ice in this exhibit.
This is what you see when you first walk in. We were so excited!
Because it is soooooo cold inside the Ice exhibit, they give you thermal coats to wear:

Here are just a few of the many beautiful ice carvings.  The girls thought these wreaths were so fun:

Poor Charlie Brown, no mail today:

Inside the "Auditorium" are the coolest ice slides ever!  I decided to join the rest of the kids and it was so fun.  I had the girls hold my camera for me...and apparently they know how to wield a camera because they took about 12 shots of me going down the ice slide.  I've only posted 2 here:

I let the girls slide's not just for moms.  Ha!  The thermal coats are the perfect thing to slide on.  You can really pick up speed going down the slides:
This was what we thought was the last scene all made out of ice:
But as we turned the corner we saw the most beautiful Nativity scene all made out of ice.  The carvings were gorgeous.  The Gaylord Texan had a recording of a man telling the blessed story which made all three of us tear up a bit.  Christmas is after all, all about Jesus!  Thank you, Gaylord Texan for adding this to your Ice exhibit.  We LOVED it!

Have you ever stayed at the Gaylord Texan?  We found an amazing deal on line and jumped at the opportunity. Memories to last on our last girl trip of 2010.

A New Christmas Tradition...I Hope!

After we spent time with my grandmother, I had a special surprise in mind for my girls.  They have been a tremendous help to me these last 4 months as I launched my photography business. They have helped answer phone calls, gone with me on photo shoots, helped me package my photos, given me their input on new designs for cards and albums, and never once complained when I would need to devote some long hours to photography after teaching school.  They are the most precious gifts next to Jesus and I wanted to do something fun to show them how thankful I am for all of their help. 

Grapevine, Texas seemed the perfect halfway point between Tulsa and home...and I couldn't wait! I made reservations at the incredible Gaylord Texan.  From the moment we drove up, we were like giggling little girls.  Delight!  We were wow-ed from the very first glimpse of the hotel and all the way through our visit.

This was a girl's celebration for sure!  Here is Hannah calling Daddy to tell him that we might not be home for Christmas because we LOVE the Gaylord Texan!  The only thing that could have been better is if he was able to come with us....maybe next time.  If he is reading this, he is probably saying, "Next time?"  Yes, sweetheart, I was kind of hoping this could be a new Christmas tradition.  What do you think?

This is the magnificent atrium complete with a ginormous Texas star.  Oooh, the decorations were incredible!
I just needed all of these people to get out of my shots, ha!  It was super busy the night that we were there.  A lot of people were coming in just to see the beautiful decorations and to see Ice (I'll post pictures of that tomorrow because it is a post in itself).
Hannah is in love with Texas cowboys (we were just in Oklahoma, where she is convinced that only REAL cowboys live in Texas.  We saw quite a few Oklahoma cowboys wearing cowboy hats with tennis shoes and she would just wrinkle her nose. Ha!) so how cool that Santa is a cowboy here:
You know that I went to Baylor, so I am NOT a longhorn fan (did I tell you that we beat them this year?) but we liked this lady longhorn complete with shopping bags and her own cowbell (Saturday night live anyone?  Need more cowbell!)

We waited our turn to take photos in this beautiful antique sleigh.  My girls are precious.  You can't see him, but there was a little boy determined to get in the sleigh with them...he thought they were so pretty:

And just look at where Santa sits when he visits the Gaylord Texan:
I love this fountain full of poinsettias:

After our drive from Tulsa, we were hungry so we tried to eat at one of the many restaurants inside the hotel.  With the enormous crowd, the wait was over an hour at every place but we were told that we could be seated within 30 minutes at the Texas Sports Grill (okay bar and grill).  We were there for the grill part not the bar.  When I put our name on the waiting list, the girl checking us in told me that we could just find a place inside the bar since we were all over 21.

Excuse me?  I chuckled and said, "No, thank you!  She is only 13."  The cute girl, bless he heart, looked at Rachel (our 17 year old) and said, "Wow!  You look 21."  Hannah (our 13 year old) LOVED every second of it.  Rachel wasn't nearly as amused.  We found a place inside perfect for a mom and her 17 and 13 year old daughter.  And we enjoyed delicious food while watching a TV that is probably larger than half of our house.  Mr. Incredible would have loved it. 

After dinner, we enjoyed seeing all of the beautiful sights at the hotel.  We found a giant Gingerbread house, that smelled delicious, when we went inside we discovered that we could decorate gingerbread men of our we did!

And we stopped to take a few mother-daughter pics beside the beautiful water fountain.  Rachel and I:
Hannah and I:
Then it was time to let the decorating games begin. 
No baking required, it was already done.  We just got to decorate, which is the fun part anyway:
And fun it was!

I don't quite remember what was so funny but we laughed a lot.  The other children with their parents were having fun but not nearly as much fun as we were having.  I was laughing so hard, I shook the camera, but I like this picture anyway:
Here are their final creations:
Rachel adores Ryan Reynolds, so she named hers, "Ryan."

Look out!

We walked around some more to see more beautiful decorations before heading off to bed.  We passed a dad who was being pushed in a wheelchair by his young son.  As we passed by, he threw his head around to look at us and then hollered to his son that they had just passed Taylor Swift!  Another dad and his daughters rushed up to us as we were buying some ice cream and nearly ran into us.  They too thought Hannah was Taylor Swift...and she loved every second of that!

Worn out from our fun adventures, we decided it was time for bed.  This is the archway that led us to our elevator and up to our room.  We loved our stay at the Gaylord Texan and hope to be blessed to return again someday. 

Before leaving for home the next morning, we got to see Ice which was awesome!  I'll post pictures of that tomorrow.  Ya'll have a blessed day!