Merry Christmas

Hope everyone had a great Christmas this year. Because I didn’t have very much vacation time and Madden Ultimate Team was still finishing up, we decided to stay in Florida this year. This is the first time we haven’t gone back to Texas for Christmas since 2003. We’ve actually found it quite relaxing not having to be four days in the car driving.


Because everyone mailed their gifts to us, our tree was exploding with presents. We started off Christmas Eve trying to find a place for breakfast and had to settle for IHOP. Our normal breakfast place, The Townhouse Restaurant, was closed. We thought about trekking it up to Lake Mary to visit our old breakfast place, Peach Valley, but decided against it. It was already 9:00 and didn’t want to be eating breakfast so late.

In the afternoon, we attended church service and then headed home to open presents. Abby and Emily played “Santa” and handed out the gifts. It took a while, but we go through them all and are thankful for all the wonderful family we have. Thank you for all the presents. We finished off the night baking cookies for Santa.


In the morning, the girls woke me up at 5:50 a.m. in order to show me what Santa gave them. Jennifer elected to stay in bed, not having a good night sleep due to some backyard neighbors having a very merry Christmas party the night before that kept her up. I threw Empire Strikes Back into the new Blu-ray player I got for Christmas and laid on the couch while the girls played around me.

On Saturday we went over to Pappy’s Patch, a local farm near our house, to pick fresh strawberries. They were delicious. We went home and made strawberry milkshakes and chocolate covered strawberries.

I’m off from work the rest of the week, but I have to keep my eye on my e-mail. Madden Ultimate Team isn’t quite through all the testing yet, but hopefully we are close and we will be available to download next month.

January Update

I can’t believe a month has gone by without me updating Frenchville. It seems like it was just Christmas and now we are rolling into February. Of course we celebrated Emily’s birthday. We decided to keep the celebration small and asked her what she wanted to do. She decided that she wanted to go to the Houston Zoo, so we asked her cousin Kinley if she wanted to go and we headed into town even though Poppy had warned us about the monkeys who fling their poo. It was a little on the cold side and by the end we were really tired from walking around so much, but Emily enjoyed seeing all the animals. We got there right as they were training the elephants so we got a special show as they explained how they train them.


Another momentous occasion during the month of January was that Izzy got her first haircut. She’s three and a half and she was finally getting her haircut. It was getting a little wild on the side. Now that it’s cut, it still does cute curls, but they are a little more under control.

The past few weeks Emily has been working on getting Girl Scout Cookies sold. She went door-to-door in our neighborhood, got on the phone and asked relatives, and even made me take it up to work. I usually don’t like doing that sort of thing, and I did catch some flack from some of the guys, but in the end that put her over the sixty boxes she needed to sell in order to get her cookie sell patch.

A question I get often is how the guitar lessons are going. I actually stopped lessons back in October right after the hurricane. I used the money I got for my birthday to fund the lessons and, at the time, our house still wasn’t sold in Orlando. It was hard to justify spending $100 a month on that. At the beginning of the year, I found a good site,, which has free online lessons. I decided in the end, all you really want to do it learn how to play songs you know. That’s the real motivator. So, he suggests for beginners just spending 15 minutes each day learning cords, transitions between cords, and then working on a song. I figured I can spare 15 minutes a day, and I’ve been pretty good about it so far. I’ve been working on the following cords: C, D, A-minor, G, and E-minor. And then working on “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd. The calluses on my fingers are starting to return and I’ve gotten almost through the intro. Like I said, working on music you like and the fact that you can spare 15 minutes a day has really helped.

Finally, we have been attending a new church here in Sienna Plantation called The Harvest United Methodist Church. It’s a small church without a building, they are meeting in the middle school which is here in the neighborhood. They have land right across from the middle school and are planning on building eventually once they have enough money. We never thought we would like a small church, but we’ve really been enjoying the fact that we are meeting other people here in the community. Today was a pot luck breakfast, so we brought up some breakfast tacos and enjoyed some of the other treats brought by some of the other families.

That’s pretty much January in review. I’ll try not to make it so long between updates.