Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!












Thursday, December 24, 2009

Ho Ho Ho..

We are fortunate enough to have the North Pole here in our town.  Alyssa seriously believed that we drove her to the North Pole to visit Santa.  The sign to prove it was icing on the cake!  But seriously having an actual Santa House in our town is so awesome.



This was Alyssa's first trip to see Santa.  We began talking about what would happen, what Santa would say, and what she would say.  You may recall we did the same thing on Alyssa's first day of preschool.  She truly functions best when she knows what to expect...hmmm...wonder where she gets that...



It is truly magical inside.  I didn't take many pictures because I couldn't stop looking around.  But here is a glimpse of the detail that exists throughout the entire house.



(There were lots of trains in Santa's house.  Alyssa was super excited about that!)



Absolutely mesmerized.

So despite our preparation, I have come to know that the more I want Alyssa to be excited about something, the less excited she ends up being.  So, I wasn't convinced this Santa experience would meet my expectations but...


SHE LOVED HIM!!!


She walked right up, sat on his lap, and here she is spouting off her wish list.  "A dragon, trains and paint."


Evan was quite taken by the big guy as well.  I don't think he moved...just stared.

Merry Christmas Eve!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

More December fun...

We really have been having a fabulous Christmas season. I'm reminded almost daily how thankful I am that we are not moving and that will be able to continue to experience and enjoy all that this town has to offer AND be with our families!!  I am finding that if I don't blog daily, the fun starts piling up! So... today I give you a slideshow of some of what's been going on in hopes that I can catch up. Enjoy!




























It really is a "Wonderful Life."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Holly Jolly Days


As mentioned in my previous post, we have been having a blast doing activities everyday as we wait for Christmas to come. As I began to plan all of the activities, I realized how much more complicated this was going to be than originally thought. I had to take into account Chris' volleyball games, and preschool parties, and youth group nights and Oasis group nights etc... when determining which activity to do which night. I also had to plan around activities that had to occur on specific days.

Holly Jolly days took place downtown last weekend, and we were there. When we visited Frankenmuth for Chris' birthday, Alyssa saw a horse taking people on carriage rides and really wanted to go. I love her, but wasn't willing to pay their price. So...we did it for free instead! Our Saturday activity was to go on a horse drawn carriage ride!


This is the horse that pulled us through town.


video
Isn't she just so sweet?!


The fam at the end of our ride.

Great memories!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Waiting for Christmas...

Chris and I have talked often of the traditions we want to make and experience year after year with our kids.  I personally felt convicted prior to the start of the Advent season to make this year different.  As the hype of the season began, I could quickly see that without some intentional move on my part, Santa and presents were going to be the default reason for the season in my 3 year olds sweet little mind.

My first move was to buy the kids (yes, ironic that my first move is buying something...) their own nativity.  Alyssa is such a visual learner, I knew that books and hands on experiences would be the key to her embracing the story.

Both kids have played countless hours with this.  It will be hard to put it away after Christmas.  It's easily their favorite right now.

Next I armed our Christmas book collection with stories that focused on the birth of Christ.  Here are a few of our favorites:





 



I really wanted something that we could read each night after dinner during the Advent season to keep us focused on the right thing.  This proved to be more difficult than I ever dreamed.  There are just not a lot of Advent books geared towards young families.  I did however find one that has been wonderful for our family, and will only get better and inspire great discussions as the kids get older.





Last year I put a piece of candy inside each day of the our Advent calendar, but I was really dissapointed with the experience, so this year I tucked a piece of paper inside each day.  On the paper is an activity that we do together as a family that evening.  It has been so much fun to eat dinner, read the story, and then continue our evening together participating in that night's event.  One evening we went for a walk and looked at Christmas lights.  Another night we had a fire and made s'mores.  One night we played games, and one night we just danced to Christmas music.  You'll see more of our activities in posts to come.




I hope you too are enjoying the Advent season as you prepare to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Little man...

Two things... Evan got his first official haircut... I've trimmed it twice, but we finally went to the salon, and!!! he started walking behind a toy unassisted! Check him out!

video

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It's Winter!


Alyssa was thrilled last week when she awoke to find this much snow.

So...you can imagine the squeals this morning when she awoke to find this...




and of course the little guy taking it all in.

It's supposed to get worse today and tomorrow, so I may have my first official snow day as a parent tomorrow.  We'll see!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Thanksgiving Weekend

We had a last minute change of plans and remained in town for Thanksgiving weekend.  It was bittersweet.  We missed being with my family, but enjoyed the calm of just being at home.

We kicked off the weekend with Chris' birthday celebration.  It has become an annual tradition for us to go to Zehnder's in Frankenmuth for his birthday dinner.  So...much...food... The kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves.  I have never seen Alyssa shovel food in so voraciously.



We continued the celebration when we got home with cake and presents with Nana and Papa.



This was the most delicious cheesecake I have ever eaten.  Sadly, I cannot take credit for it.

Thursday my mom came over and joined us for Thanksgiving dinner.  I had not planned on hosting Thanksgiving, so I had not planned how I would decorate our table for dinner.  Turns out there is no fall decor left in stores the week of Thanksgiving, so I did what I could with a bag of acorns and pinecones on clearance from Pier1, and some flowers from Kroger.



Lucky for me, Martha Stewart taught how to make this centerpiece on her show the previous week, so I was able to create this for much less than I could have bought it for.



Friday we embarked on our annual tradition of getting our Christmas tree.  The first year Chris and I went tree hunting together it resulted in one of our biggest fights to that date.  Each year we've gotten progressively better and this year, I'm proud to announce there were no disagreements!!  That could be due to the fact that you could not argue over the perfection of the tree we found.


Ok, now if you know Chris you know that he's 6'4".  So, the tree...yeah, a good two feet taller than him.  Let's just say there is no star a top our tree this year.  She's a beauty, but she's HUGE!  (more pics to follow in another post)

All in all a great weekend, with much to be thankful for.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Squeezable


Because he's been absent from the last few posts and because he is the cutest...



I love this boy...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Silliness

Uncle Andrew and Kate came to hang out with us a couple of Saturdays ago.  What a fun day it was.  Alyssa was absolutely exhausted after they left.  Here's a taste of the silliness that was...


video

Monday, November 16, 2009

Now that's more like it!



This weekend the weather was absolutely gorgeous.  October was unseasonably cold, but so far November has been unseasonably warm.  I'll take it!  My mom had the brilliant idea that we should put our Christmas lights up while it was in the 60's.  Brilliant I tell you.  I usually wait until Thanksgiving at which point my fingers go stiff and numb from the cold.  This was so much better!



Mid summer Chris snagged the wood of an Ash Tree that one of our neighbors cut down.  It has been drying in the garage ever since.  One of his favorite things to do on a Saturday is to go out and chop up a few pieces. It's also one of my favorite things for him to do because I LOVE having fires...lots of fires!!



Alyssa tired of the chore aspect of the day and decided coloring was more her speed.



Here's hoping for a mild winter!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

After much waiting...

Halloween happened...and it was so much fun.  Alyssa is at such a great age for all things holidays.  She loves the decorations, and made some of her own.   She was filled with anticipation, (our Halloween countdown started at 54 days out!).  She picked out her own costume this year which was fun because it's never what you expect.  She also picked our her own pumpkin.  She couldn't wait to make a Jack O Lantern and had lots of advice on what each of us should carve into our pumpkins.

Friday night after Evan went to bed we dove into our pumpkins.  Alyssa was not a fan of the pumpkin guts.  She so desperately wanted to make pumpkin seeds to eat, but could not stand the sliminess of the process.

Look at her wince!



 So, she left that to me and began eating candy...which she promptly spilled all over the floor.





The pumpkin that Alyssa picked out was pretty small, but this thing was the hardest pumpkin I have ever carved.  Eventually I had to call in for help, and then he had to trade off again.  After much struggle, we carved the "spooky ghost" she requested.












 Chris' pumpkin

My pumpkin.

All of our pumpkins lit.

Saturday night just couldn't get here fast enough.  We occupied our time making trips to Nana and Papa's and to Grandma's to show off our little Trick or Treater's.

(Nana and Papa, if you send me a picture, I'll add it in.  We forgot our camera at your house.)

Finally, it was show time and Chris and Alyssa headed out for the big event.











They came back after ~45 minutes to warm up a bit, and then Aly-G wanted to head back out.  Evan had been trying so hard to make a break for it each time the door was opened, so Chris agreed to take him too.  This proved to be mighty beneficial to Alyssa.  In half as much time she came back with twice as much candy. Apparently Evan looks like he could use a little candy.



So after way too much candy and two nights in a row of staying up way too late, I consider it a success.  I think I enjoyed Halloween this year more than I have in a long, long time.