Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Day

We had a wonderful Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  With Christmas Eve on a Saturday, I knew I'd be in for "When do we go to Grandma's" and "Is it time yet?" first thing in the morning, so I had a plan to keep my bigger boys occupied.  I bought two gingerbread house kits (on sale for $2.48 at Winco).  I made the boys get ready first, and then we went to work.  These kits were great!  I couldn't buy the candy for that price, and they come with everything, including pre-made frosting and a tray to build it on. 

 We were busy at work.  I had to use a few graham crackers to assemble a house for Greyson.  He was not going to be left out!  He ate most of it before it ever got together, but it was fun for him. 
These are the finished products.  Chad made his name on his roof with Christmas lights, and they both turned out cute! 
 We met up at my parents house at 3.  All of my siblings were able to come this year, and we had a wonderful dinner together.  It has been tradition my entire life to have ham, cheesy potatoes, and green bean casserole.  It wouldn't be Christmas Eve if it were anything else. 

After dinner, we played several games and opened a few gifts. 

Chad is absent from all of these photos because he was off playing with his cousin, Carter. 
Our fun cousin, Gavin, made each of his cousins one of these fleece hats, and you can tell from the expression on their faces that they loved them!  Thanks, Gavin! 
And of course, we had grandpa time.  The boys always love to be with grandpa.  When the festivities were over, we headed out to look at some lights.  I always love to see a good light display, and we found a few that were beautiful. 
 Christmas morning was a little different this year.  Because our preschool is in the family room where we usually do Christmas, we had to shake things up a bit.  Chad was dead set on the stockings staying by the fireplace, so Santa visited us downstairs, and we did our gifts upstairs.  The boys always unwrap matching jammies on Christmas eve, and here they are, discovering what treasures Santa brought them. 
Greyson looks WAY too grown up in this picture.  He has just loved this little ride-on toy Santa brought him.   
After peeking in our stockings, we had to pause to get ready for church.  Our meetings are at 9am, and we had to boogie to be ready on time.  We only barely made it.  The meeting was beautiful, filled with music and testimony of Christ. 

After the meeting, we headed back home to enjoy the day together.  We took our time to unwrap our gifts to each other. 

It was fun to see how excited the boys were about the gifts they gave. 

Chad received his beloved scooter from Santa. 

 We have been so blessed.  My parents and my grandma joined us for dinner.  And we enjoyed visiting and playing a few more games together. 
To me, that's what Christmas time if for-time together.  It was sad for us to send Dave off to work today, but we will enjoy a few more calm evenings together before the new year.  I hope each of you are enjoying your holidays! 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Vacation

Christmas vacation is upon us!  WOW!  That's hard to believe.  To me, it never really feels like Christmas until school lets out.  Sure, the decorations go up, and gifts start to appear under the tree, but life goes on in much the same manner as always.  When school gets out, it actually feels different. 

So, I got to thinking about Christmas vacation and the two weeks I'll have with my children without school to interrupt.  I think it's going to be like a mini summer break all over again.  This morning, the boys and I put together our "bucket list" of things we'd like to do over the break.  I always loved Christmas vacation, and I want my children to feel the same way.  I also want to avoid that common feeling of, "mom and dad can hardly wait for school to start again."  So, here's our list . . .
 Chad had to cross out "play with Carter" because we did that yesterday.  And here . . .
is our start on "building all of the Lego's".  We've got a long way to go, but one pirate ship is DONE! (Heaven forbid Chad should smile-he has only spend like 3 days building this, but apparently, he didn't want to hold the boat for the picture.) 

We added a few more things to our list after I took the picture.  The boys also want to:
sleep down by the fire and Christmas tree
play with our new toys
 . . . and I'm sure there will be many more additions to our list. 
How are you going to fill your Christmas vacation? 

I hope you have a Merry and Wonderful Christmas! 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Programs

I always enjoy the children's Christmas programs.  Tyler's was yesterday, and since I am his preschool teacher, I had a little more stress accompanying his program, but it went so well.  These little kids are so sweet and did so good. 
 Chad's program was earlier this month, and the worst part of it all is trying to park anywhere near the school.  He did a great job, singing "I want a hippopotamus for Christmas" and "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth".  (Chad still has yet to loose any teeth, so that one was not quite as fitting.) 

Today is it . . . the last day of school before Christmas break.  I'm so ready.   I am in charge of the classroom party for Chad today, and then Christmas can begin.  And . . .
It's Snowing! 

Monday, December 19, 2011


We have been spending a lot of time around our house lately doing this . . .
We bought these little trains when Chad was small, and they were his FAVORITE toys.  Now, Greyson has discovered them and he and Tyler have been building many tracks to chug on.  It is so cute to hear Greyson making the "chug, chug, chug" sound as he pushes the cars. 
I mentioned back HERE about our new favorite activity.  If you still have not checked it out, click HERE.  During the month of December, Lowes does a three-part train for their build-and-grow.  The first week was the caboose, then the coal car the next week, and the engine was this last Saturday.  My older boys have been more excited to go and build their engine than they are for Christmas.  So Saturday morning, we headed out for a "train" day.  We first build the engine (see below). 

When we got to Lowes and saw the line, I was worried we would not get a kit.  Thank goodness they had planned well and did not run out. 

After Lowes, we headed over to our local train station where during December, they have an open house each Saturday where we can go and see the model railroads.  So cool!  Outside, we stood by a real engine, and then we headed inside to see the models. 

They really are quite amazing!  They are always changing things, so there is usually some part of the display under construction, but it is so cool to see.  There are N-scale trains, HO-scale and then a whole wall of bigger trains (not sure what scale).  The boys loved watching them go and checking out the mini city that has been built around them.  (FYI-it's free!)

It was even complete with a Polar Express train.  That was our train day.  And then the boys spent the remainder of the day playing with their new, complete, train. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


I read a post a while back of another mother talking about homework.  She said that homework is one of her favorite ways to spend time with her children.  When I read that, I honestly thought, "I have got to be doing something wrong!"  I'll be honest, I hate homework time.  It seems like a whole lot of busy work mixed with some major whining, all while I try to keep my younger two kiddos occupied so I can supervise the one doing the homework.  If I sit down to read with Chad, Greyson bawls that I'm not reading his book.  Ahhh!  Anyone else feel like this?  From a teachers standpoint, it makes me feel a little bad for having ever assigned homework back in the day.  How can anyone "love" this time with their children? 
Well, several weeks ago, I thought I'd put a little spin on our homework routine.  I happened to remember that I had kept all of Chad's unfinished worksheets from kindergarten.  I pulled them out and sure enough, Tyler can manage them.  So, while Chad does his worksheets, Tyler gets to do his own "homework".  Truthfully, Chad is much more into what Tyler is doing, and is pretty excited that Tyler can do homework, that he forgets to whine at all. 

It has actually become something I do look forward to.  As for the reading, we're still working on that, but I think we're making progress. 

Monday, December 12, 2011


I have only one wonderful sister, and two equally as wonderful sister-in-laws.  I think of them all as my sisters.  Today, we got together to do a cookie exchange.  In past years, we have exchanged family names for gifts, but there have been years where finances have made it difficult for one family or another do participate, so this year, we opted to bag the gift exchange, and just let our gift be spending time together.  At the last minute, my sis-in-law Ann had another commitment come up, but we called and conferenced her in for a few minutes.  We each brought 5 dozen cookies, already baked and ready to go.  Then we each got one dozen of each of the five varieties.  In the end, we each had 5 dozen cookies in 5 varieties.  Lots of fun, and now we have our neighbor gifts ready to go. 
My sister in law, Beverly, my mom, and my sister Karlee with her daughter.

Beverly, Me, and Karlee
Besides exchanging cookies, we visited and enjoyed lunch together.  Always fun to get together.  We did this during school hours so it was a little less chaotic, and a lot less coordinating.  Thanks Karlee for putting this all together. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Visiting Santa

I offered my boys the chance to go and see Santa the other day.  Tyler told me that we didn't actually need to visit Santa because he hears everything and so he already knows what we want for Christmas.  Interesting how their little minds perceive things.  If "he sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake," then surely he hears everything and knows what you want.  But we went anyway.  On the way to the mall, Chad and Tyler argued over who didn't  have to go first.  Apparently, they are both still a little apprehensive about Santa.  Greyson, of course, wouldn't even come near him. 
 But each boy shared their Christmas wishes and this (below) is the best picture we could get.  One realization I've had as of late is that I had better cherish these moments because all too soon, they will only be memories. 
I hope you too enjoying this magical time of year, and soaking in your children's joys.  Happy Holidays! 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Date Night

I live for our weekly date night!  It is one of my favorite nights of the week.  As much as I love being home with my kiddos, I need that break to get away and Dave and I need that time together, just the two of us.  Our dates are usually simple, but I have made it a priority and I budget money specific for babysitters so we can leave weekly.  Sometimes, we go bowling or mini golfing, other times to a dollar movie.  Occasionally we go to dinner.  We try to do things creative.  Most importantly, we are together. 

Several weeks back, a friend of ours put together an "Amazing Race" date. 

This is a terrible picture, but it's all I've got.  This is our team just before we headed out on the first challenge. 
We all met at a central location and divided into teams.  There were four teams.  Basically, we each received clues and we had to solve the clues to find the next one.  Some were written in different languages, others were aerial pictures of a park and we had to figure out which park it was and go there.  There were also challenges.  One where a member of our team had to eat the contents of his bag (called a 'dining' challenge) which had a can of sardines, a Ziploc filled with marshmallows, a while clove of garlic, and pop rocks.  Another challenge where we each tied balloons to our ankles and tried to step on and pop the other teams balloons.  The team with the most balloons remaining un-popped at the end of the game won.   I don't remember how points were calculated, but we all had a great time chasing through town to try to be the winning team.  It was so much fun!  And it was a totally free date (except for paying the sitter). 

Back in May, another friend and I put together a second chance Prom.  Now, I won't say that Dave was jumping up and down about this one.  But I put him in charge of the music and that made him come.  But is was fun.  Even he would admit it.  The variety of our dates is what makes them fun.  We don't do the same things all the time. 

Last Friday when Dave got home from work, I told him that for our date, we were going to go to Kiwi Loco (a self-serve frozen yogurt place) and play board games.  He asked, "Long games? Or like Candyland?"  I think he was a little embarrassed.  We went to Arby's for dinner (I had a coupon for 2 meals for 8.99) and then we ran and picked up a few Christmas gifts.  Then, we went and served up our frozen yogurt and played games.  To Dave's surprise, there were even games there at the ice cream shop for people to play. I told him, "See, they want us to play games here!"  It was a lot of fun and we enjoyed visiting about our kids and their needs and our concerns for them. 
Sometimes dates are a good time to do assessments of your children.  Mostly, I think it is just good to take the time for the two of you.  And I think it sends a good message to our children that mommy and daddy and their relationship is important. 

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