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i hope jesus likes sprinkles

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.

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??

We spent an incredibly relaxing Thanksgiving weekend down in Mena, Arkansas.  We have done this every year since Travis and I started dating 9 years ago, but this one was extra special.  The whole family was back together (minus Aunt Kelly and Cameron and Cristina…we missed you all a bunch!).  Last time we were all together was three years ago and Owen was the only child.  Now there are 5 children between the cousins!  It made life a little crazier but SO much fun.  Here’s the crazy crew at the kids’ table…

Not too long ago this table was considered the “kids’ table”!

It didn’t take Molly long to become obsessed with Mila.  She LOVES babies and wanted to kiss her all the time.  Whenever Mila would cry Molly would say, “What’s wrong with the baby?  I go check on her.”  Such a little mommy.

After gorging ourselves with Julie’s delicious Thanksgiving feast, we decided to get out of the house on Friday and go up the mountain to see the train.  We’ve done this in the summer and taken a train ride around the top of the mountain and you see some really pretty scenery.  This time…not so much.  The fog was so thick you could barely see 10 feet in front of you.  And it was cold.  And windy.  But the kids still managed to spend some time exploring the big train.

We opted not to take the train around the mountain (even though it was still running and taking passengers in the nasty weather!), but the conductor offered to let the kids sit in the train before it left again.  Molly was all over it, but she kept saying, “Why it not moving?  The train is broken.”  I think she’s actually mid-question in this picture…the girl just doesn’t stop talking.

Molly and her Bubba.  This one’s a framer, no?

Besides eating and hanging out on foggy mountains, we spent a lot of time watching Grandpa Lane and Bubba do this…like father, like son.

We also got to spend some time with our good friends, Annie and Walt and Chloe.  Chloe is simply adorable and she and Molly became fast friends.

We took advantage of Walt’s photography skills and got a group shot.  It’s near impossible to get all five kids looking at the camera at the same time.  Three out of five isn’t too bad.

And a few fam shots…all four of us looking at the camera!!  Don’t be surprised if this makes an appearance on the annual Christmas card.  I’m not sure we can beat this one…

And one with Nana and Bubba.  We didn’t have the same luck getting the kids to look at the camera for this shot.

And one final picture of Grandma Renie with her grandkids.

It was so fun having everyone back together again.  My first Thanksgiving with Trav’s family was when we were just dating.  It’s crazy to see how far we’ve come since then.  I loved this Thanksgiving.

happy thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from my little Pilgrim and Indian.

And in honor of turkey day on Thursday, Owen’s preschool class had a Thanksgiving feast this afternoon.  Their preschool class dressed like Indians and the other preschool class dressed like Pilgrims.   Such cuties!  This makes me miss my teacher days…there’s so much fun stuff to do around the holidays!  Can you find Owen?  Back row…far right.

Enjoy your turkey day!

Pinterest!  Not what you expected me to say, right?  But it’s true.  I can’t get enough.  I am rarely on Facebook anymore, haven’t checked the blogs on my blogroll in at least a week (no offense to my fellow blogger friends), and have been delinquent in responding to emails.  All because of my new obsession.  If you haven’t joined Pinterest yet…DO IT!  You won’t regret it.

If you have no idea what this Pinterest thing is, here’s a quick explanation.  Basically it’s website you can join (similar to Facebook) where people share pictures of things they like in different categories (crafts, kid stuff, recipes, home decor, travel, music, movies, books, etc…).  I thought it sounded lame when I first heard about it.  I honestly thought it would be another time waster that I didn’t need.  But then one night while Travis was out of town I decided to see what all the fuss was about.  After three hours online I had to MAKE myself stop…and I was hooked.  My one worry was that I wouldn’t actually create anything that I saw…but I’ve already made a few things that I’ve seen on Pinterest and I have a long list of projects waiting in the wings.  Here are some of the things I’ve made….

1.  My new knife block.  My first project.  It used to be boring a boring butcher block, but add a fun paint color and a last name initial…Voila!

2.  My second project…Thanksgiving handprint plate.  A cheap plate, some enamel gloss paint from Hobby Lobby,  and my son’s hand made this one happen.  It’s not food safe, but I’ll just display it every year at Thanksgiving and remember how sweet and little Owen’s hand used to be.

3.  My newest project and the one I’m most excited about…pajama pants!  I got a sewing machine for Christmas last year but never had time to learn how to use it.  Now that Travis is traveling so often, I’m having time to figure it out.  Jo-Ann’s had flannel on sale for $3 a yard last week and I bought three different materials to make him some new jammies…and it was about time.  His had become capri pants…not cool for a four- year-old boy.  Here’s my first pair…army guy pants.  I wasn’t crazy about the fabric but knew Owen would love it and I was right.  He wore them for 24 hours straight when I finished them.

My second pair…robots.  And a $2 shirt from Goodwill.  Cheap jams.

And the third pair…sports theme with a $3 Walmart shirt.

I also made teacher gifts for the kids’ teachers, but I won’t share that quite yet because some of my most loyal readers just might be getting the same thing for Christmas.  So if you haven’t already…go check out Pinterest.  It will change your life forever.  Seriously.

Best Christmas Ad Ever

Well, at least I think so.