Archive for December, 2011

So busy that there isn’t time to devote a post to each activity.  Here’s a review of our jam-packed December…

1.  Our family read advent scripture in church the first Sunday of December.  We each had a part to read, including the kids.  Owen said, “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God” and Molly said, “Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”.  They both said the words loudly into the microphone, Owen more clearly than Molly…but both were adorable.  It was a great way to start the Christmas season.  Here’s a picture of them before we left for the service in their Christmas clothes.  I know I’m biased, but aren’t they just adorable??

2.  We’ve watched lots of Christmas movies, including one new one this year.  We took the kids to see Arthur Christmas in the theater…it was so cute and the kids loved it.  And praise the Lord for popcorn.  That’s the only way we can get Molly to sit through an entire movie.

3.  We’ve looked at lots of Christmas lights, but my favorite was when we all bundled up and went on a walking tour of our neighborhood’s Christmas lights one evening after dinner.  It proved to be a great way to see the lights…and a fantastic way to wear out some kids with severe cabin fever.  We also took the kids to see the Wild Lights at the Zoo.  They loved it, but Molly was really confused about why we weren’t able to see any animals.  She didn’t really understand that the point of this trip to the zoo wasn’t about the animals, rather it was about enjoying the Christmas spirit while we looked at the pretty lights.

4.  We made gingerbread houses with Mimi.  This has become one of our favorite yearly traditions.  The kids both got really into it this year…I think they might have actually stuck more candy on the house than in their mouths this year!

And the final product turned out pretty cute!

5.  Our church’s Children’s Ministry had its annual Christmas program.  This year it was called “Arrest These Merry Gentlemen” and Owen got chosen to be a wiseman.  He took the job very seriously and had to walk up our church’s long center aisle carrying his gift for the baby Jesus.  Here he is with his two other wisemen buds…

When he wasn’t playing the part of a wiseman, he was belting it out with the preschool chorus.

6.  This December marked the end of my 18 month run as Assistant Director of Children’s Ministry at our church.  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time working with the children, but I miss being involved with adult aspects of the church.  It’s also gotten very difficult to juggle my odd hours with Travis’ increasing work and travel schedule.  It was a good run, but it was time for me to resign.

7.  Owen’s Pre-K class had a morning for moms on December 16.  All the kids participated in a reenactment of the nativity story.  Owen and his friend, Nick, got to be shepherds (which was evidently the coveted role according to him).

Everyone in his little class had a role.  Here they all are, gathered around the manger.

Afterwards all the moms got to decorate Christmas cookies with our kids.  As you could tell from my previous post about Jesus’ birthday cake, Owen is a big fan of sprinkles.  And that held true for cookies, too.

8.  Trav and I went to his annual work holiday party.  It was at a great restaurant downtown called Copia.  This was his 9th holiday party with his company.  Crazy.  We’ve gone from being the young ones at the parties to being considered some of the older ones there (advertising tends to draw a pretty young crowd)…not to mention I’m the only stay-at-home mom and probably the only female in the room that drives a minivan.  That being said, I was still able to have some great conversations with some of the girls he works with.  Here we are…my one occasion each Christmas to buy a new dress and look fancy.

9.  One more thing worth mentioning…I let Owen and Molly pick out something to give the other for Christmas at the dollar store.  They each got to have “dates” with me to the store to pick out their gift.  It was cute to see them picking out a toy for their sibling.  They often picked out things they personally would enjoy (I giggled as Owen tried to convince me that Molly would enjoy some wrestler action figures…who am I kidding…she probably would).  What they ended up picking out was great.  Owen chose a baby alligator figurine for Molly because “she likes to play with animals and she like alligators”.  And Molly chose a microphone.  You’ve seen them…the ones that are echo mikes that take no batteries but somehow magnify your voice.  Once she decided upon her gift, she proceeded to test it out through the remainder of the store yelling “I AM A BAD GUY!!!” into the mike.  Over and over and over.  I splurged and secretly bought another mike just for her…I could see the fights they’d have over that silly thing and decided to make my life a little easier by spending the extra buck.  I can’t wait to see them give their presents to each other on Christmas morning.  My guess is Owen spills the beans before she gets the wrapping paper off.

That pretty much wraps up December!  Have a Merry Christmas!!

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Yesterday the kids and I made a birthday cake for Jesus.  My little chefs were involved from start to finish.  They measured, cracked eggs, licked the beaters, watched the oven, iced the cake (more like poked holes in the cake with their knives), and then they sprinkled.  And boy did they sprinkle.  I had written “Happy Birthday Jesus!” on the cake, but by the time they were done all that could be seen was “Bir J”.  But they were oh so proud.

They were abnormally happy to pose for pictures with their cake.  They were simply thrilled about their creation and couldn’t wait to taste the sprinkled goodness.

After dinner we had a full on birthday party.  We sang to Jesus and then the kids blew out his candles.  (Molly liked it that Jesus got to have her leftover pink candles from her birthday party.)

The kids loved every minute of the cake.  Trav and me?  Not so much.  I looked over at Travis after my first bite and said, “Well, it sure is crunchy.”.  Owen and Molly, on the other hand, thoroughly enjoyed it.  Owen even told me that this was the best cake he’d ever eaten and asked to have it for his birthday.  I guess I should stop putting so much effort into fun shaped cakes for him and just give him loads of sprinkles instead.  Here’s Owen post-cake…he looks like he had some fun with red lipstick.

And Molly looks like she’s straight off the set of Twilight…with a little gangsta flair.

All the sugar made the kids crazy animals.  They ran around like wild banshees during the whole first half of the Mizzou/Illinois basketball game until Trav and I corraled them into bed.

We’ve done the whole Santa thing with the kids this year.  We visited him at the mall, we’ve read books about him, and the kids are excited about getting presents from him on Christmas morning.  But I want my kids to understand that Christmas isn’t about Santa, Rudolph, or the presents.  Christmas is about the precious gift of Jesus.  We give gifts to people we love because God gave us the best gift ever…Jesus, his Son, and the promise of eternal life.  My prayer is that, as we start these next two days of Christmas fun, Owen and Molly will remember the birthday party that we had last night and know that Santa is a fun tradition, but Jesus is the reason we celebrate.

Merry Christmas!

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Last Thursday over Trav’s lunch hour we took the kids to see Santa.  First things first…mid-day is the BEST time to go visit Santa.  At least at Plaza Frontenac.  No line at all!  There was one kid in front of us but he was already with Santa so we waited a whopping 2 minutes.  Awesome.  Right before it was our turn, Santa came over and told the kids he had to take a quick break and he’d be back in a couple of minutes.  The kids were instantly curious and asked us a million questions about where he had gone.  The reality is that he had to take a bathroom break, but my kids would peg him with questions about this the minute he returned (they’re all about the questions these days).  We told him that he had to go feed his reindeer…which they bought and pegged us with loads of questions about the kinds of foods they eat and whether or not Rudolph was out there.  We also had time to remind them of proper Santa etiquette…sit, smile, tell him what you want, and so on.  Here they are getting prepped and ready for the big guy.

Molly never stopped grinning the whole time we were there.  Actually, grin is probably and understatement.  She smiled so big that I’m sure her face hurt.  She couldn’t help herself…she just couldn’t wait to tell Santa what she wanted for Christmas.  But before they told him what they wished for, they smiled their little faces off so we could get a few pictures.

This Santa visit was a drastic improvement upon last year’s visit.  In 2010, we had to wait in line for at least a half hour to see Santa, and then Molly screamed the whole time she sat on Santa’s lap.   These pictures are evidence that Molly harbored no remaining fear of jolly old St. Nick…in fact she kept looking at us while she was sitting on his lap saying, “I not crying!”.  It proved to be a much better year for the photo op.  Moving on…after smiling for pictures the kids moved on to sharing their wish lists with Santa.  Owen told Santa that he wanted Optimus Prime, and Molly asked for Belle and the Beast.  Might I just add that my children own BOTH of the gifts they requested…I’m seriously considering rewrapping their own toys and letting them reopen them under the tree.  Budget-friendly Christmas in this house!  Here’s a shot of Owen as he chats up Santa…

And before we left, Santa gave the kids a big squeeze…which was awfully generous of him to do considering we were those cheap parents who didn’t buy any of the overly priced professional pictures they offered.

And that was 2011’s visit with Santa.  Lots of smiles, no tears, requests for presents already owned, and no line.  Success.

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christmas cheer

It’s officially my favorite time of the year and our house is all decked out.  The kids were both old enough this year to really enjoy decorating the tree.  Maybe enjoy is an understatement…

Owen got to hang the first ornament on the tree and he chose his Prep and Landing elves.  He took his job very seriously.

After we got the tree up and the stockings hung, Owen and I did a little crafting one afternoon and made this fun wall hanging.  I love how it turned out…and I’m sure I’ll love it even more as the years go on.

And then I got even craftier and made the kids matching jammies.  I’m becoming addicted to my sewing machine now that I’ve figured out how to use it.  After making the pants, I decided to do little appliques on the t-shirts.  Because these were my first ever appliques, I decided not to buy new t-shirts but use ones the kids had.  Owen’s had a small design in the middle so I cut a circle of fabric big enough to cover it and…voila!

I had a little fun with ric rac on Molly’s jammies…until I realized that ric rac doesn’t stretch.  It was an ugly scene last night when I was trying to get the shirt over her head.  After lots of screaming, crying, pulling, shoving, and finally cutting…it was on!  I ended up having to cut a slit in the back of the shirt and sewing around the rough edges to make it work.  Live and learn.  But the final product was well worth the effort…aren’t they cute??

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