Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Mommy Loves Me and Baby Faces

A big focus of mine on the week after Christmas is to organize and purge! Today I was up in Will's room cleaning and going through all of the books on his shelves. There were some books that I threw out just because they weren't in decent condition, and there were some that were just too babyish, and I put them aside to give away. I was definitely in the mood to get rid of things, but when I came to the two books Mommy Loves Me and Baby Faces, I stopped immediately and reminisced about reading those books with Allison. She LOVED those two books, and we read them for hours on end. Here favorite face in Baby Faces was the "silly face" with the red-headed baby with a duck on top of her head. Is it possible that was 7 years ago I was doing that? Needless to say, these books went into Allison's box of special things, not into the trash.

Christmas Take 2

I almost forgot to include our day with Uncle Bill, Aunt Kristen, Katherine, and Libby. We got together with them and Gram and Grandpa on Saturday, the 27th. We had a delicious lasagna dinner and then opened our presents to each other. A few years ago we started the tradition of giving each cousin a special ornament. We decided it would be fun for them to have this collection of special ornaments when they are older. The cousins had so much fun playing, and we are convinced they could go for hours on end without one cross word. They have always been this way, and I'm so happy they are the best of friends. We enjoyed all the Christmas celebrations this year, and this was a great ending. I took this picture of the kids sleeping in the car right after we arrived home way past their bedtime. Finally, I can't forget Jager this Christmas. Here is a picture of her getting into the holiday spirit!

Christmas Day 2008

After hearing what time some of our friends had to get up with their kids, I feel fortunate that ours slept until 7:20 Christmas Morning. As told, they came straight down to our room without going into the family room. We sent them back upstairs while Daddy and I made sure everything was in order and got the camera ready. When they came down there were lots of squeals of delight, and it got noisy very quickly. All three were very happy with Santa. Mom even got some running socks and those sour mints that she always steals from Dad's car. We took a break for breakfast, which I have to admit wasn't anything special this year, and then we opened our tree gifts to each other. I like to go one at a time and really draw out the process, but I had to give up after awhile. The kids were just too excited about their gifts, and I lost control. It was a fun chaos, though! Then we all got dressed and ready for the day and tried to clean up a little bit around the house. Gram and Grandpa came over with Uncle Newman, Aunt Diane, and Gobby. We had a delicious Christmas dinner that Gram cooked, and then we opened more presents. It was a nice day outside, and we really had fun getting outside and playing with our toys. Gram and Grandpa gave Caroline and Will a new bike, and Santa brought a new Razor Scooter. Other favorites were some new American Girl doll accessories, Spike the Dinosaur, a small flat drum set, a Hannah Montana Guitar, sleeping bags, a camera, and a race track. They have performed many shows for us this week. Dad's favorite was Guitar Hero for the Wii and a tabletop pinball machine for Will. We finished the day with a round of turkey sandwiches and delicious pecan pie. Everyone had a fun time and really enjoyed the day. I mentioned that Will is really into the whole thing this year, and my absolute favorite moment of the day was when I was standing in the kitchen and heard yelling through the open door to the garage. Will was standing in the driveway by himself with his hand cupped around his face, yelling up to the sky at the top of his lungs, "Thank you Santa Claus for a great Christmas!." I may forget many details of this day, but I think that memory is etched into my mind forever. Although the kids are still very focused in their presents and the gift giving part of Christmas, I was so happy that they seem to really grasp the fact that we are celebrating Jesus' birth. I hope that awareness and focus continues to grow in the coming years and that they will grow up truly understanding the reason for the season. Stay tuned for 2 more special birthday posts from the month of December until I fully move onto 2009.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is always such an exciting day. Most of the work all done, and the anticipation is so high. We went to the 3:00 Children's Christmas Eve service and saw lots of friends there. It was particularly nice to see the Feighners in town from New Jersey. After Church we headed to Dallas and met my parents and Uncle Newman and Aunt Diane for dinner at Olive Garden. That is the first time I can remember eating out on Christmas Eve, and I really enjoyed that. It was nice to make a mess and leave! After we got home the kids were able to open up their Christmas Pajamas, and then after their showers, we sang Happy Birthday to Jesus and ate the cake we made earlier in the day for Him. Then we decided to check out where Santa was on the Santa tracker. There was a video of him caught earlier in the day that we watched, and Will completely freaked out when he saw it. He was certain Santa was going to be at our house that very minute, and he had to get to bed immediately, or Santa would skip over him. We tried to calm him down, but the more we tried, the more agitated Will became. He was literally crying hysterically with fear. I calmed him down enough to take our annual pictures in front the stockings and then set out cookies and milk for Santa. Will raced up the stairs and threw himself into bed. I could see his heart pounding in his chest. Then he became worried that Santa was coming into his room to peek at him. I assured him Santa was just going to set up the toys and leave in order to make it to every one's house. That seemed to satisfy him, and he went to sleep immediately after that. Will was definitely into Santa this year, and although I had a hard time not breaking down laughing, I loved his innocence and pure joy! Santa was in and out of our house pretty quickly that night and we all slept excited about the next day.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Traditions

One of the things I love about the holidays is all the traditions we follow each year. I hope my kids grow up loving all of these things and remembering some of them when they have their own families. This time of the year can be so busy, and I have to work to not think of some of these activities as things that just have to get done and checked off of my to-do list. I truly enjoy these things and especially love documenting them and looking back at them in years past. In addition to seeing Santa and baking cookies and looking at lights, I thought I would post about a couple of additional things we do that haven't been mentioned yet. The first one is The Magic Elf. This was his 3rd year to spend December in our house, and he has become part of the family, and we are all sad when he has to go back in his box and rest for the next year. We let him out of his box on the last day of December and he flies to different spots in the house holding a different card each day about Christmas or the Christmas spirit. The last five or so days tells the story of Jesus' birth. The Elf flies to a different spot each night, and the kids love going to find him every morning. Occasionally he doesn't move during the night, and that just means that he is really tired and needed a small break. Thankfully, this didn't happen more than a couple of times! Here is a picture of our Magic Elf.

Another thing we started this year was an interactive nativity scene. This was just a 7 night activity, and each night there was a new box to open with a new figure/character in it. Each child took a turn opening a box and placing the character in the scene. There was a story that went with each page written in poem form. There was also a Bible verse that went with each day, and I let Allison look up the verse in her Bible and read it to the family. The stories told about the birth of Christ, and each day ended with a buildup to the last day, which revealed what Jesus wants for Christmas. On the 7th box, when you open it up there is a mirror inside the box and the story reveals that YOU are what Jesus wants for Christmas. Allison got the most out of the whole experience, but we will do it again the next few years as Caroline and Will get a little older. It was also a great way to just have some family time each night during this busy time!

Of course we had to fit in making Christmas ornaments. Last year I found a place in Southlake, The Art House, that had certain times during December for drop-in ornament painting. This year and last year, in addition to making ornaments for home, each of the kids made an ornament for their teachers and for the nurse at CES. The kids were so proud to give their teacher their handmade gifts. The girls, especially, worked so hard on picking out colors and designs that they thought their teacher would like. Below are the ornaments that we took home for us. Caroline's is on the far left, Allison's is in the middle, and Will's is on the right. These were the last ornaments they painted, and I think they were a little tired of the whole thing by that point, but they are still cute, and as I always say, "It captured the moment/year!"

Friday, December 26, 2008

School Christmas Parties

I had a lot fun the week before Christmas going to the three kid's Christmas parties at school. Luckily each party was at a different time. Will's was first, and it was on Thursday, the 18th. They got to decorate cookies and then make small gingerbread houses with milk cartons as the base. Will was so proud of all his "loot", and it reminded me of days when I had three at preschool and would try to get everyone and all of their stuff out to the car after holiday parties. It is much easier with just one, although, it was still a lot of things to carry.

Caroline and Allison's party was the next day - Friday, the 19th. Caroline's was first, and Allison's followed right after that. Caroline's class followed their classroom western theme, and the room looked so cute. The ate snacks and then had a class book exchange.

At Allison's party they played Bingo, and the prize for each win was a coveted $2.00 to spend in the Spirit Shop. Then they ate popcorn and cookies and presented their teacher with a card that had a picture of all the kids holding a banner saying you are the best gift of all. Inside the card each child had written a paragraph about why they thought Miss Yruegas is the best gift. It was very cute! The last picture is an ornament Allison had to decorate to hang on the bulletin board.