Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Last of Advent

With just a few more days before Christmas, we were plenty busy.

Day 22: Wild Lights at the zoo with Grandpa & Gigi
These singing, hopping frogs were our favorite

family time!

Rudolph enjoyed the zoo, too
Day 23: Party with friends. What's a birthday celebration without a party with a few of our closest friends?
Polar cupcakes & a hot cocoa bar

playing "pass the present" & trying to remember that Jesus was the greatest gift we were ever given
Day 24: Christmas Eve church with Grandad & our "Christmas Eve" present
Looking sharp & ready to sing some carols

Feeling "super" in our new PJs
Day 25: Merry Christmas from us to you!

the boys insisted on wearing the PJs all day
We had a pretty amazing time celebrating the coming of Jesus. We hope that you did, too.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life."
John 3:16

Monday, December 23, 2013

Still Preparing...Advent Week 3

We have been feeling better this week (huzzah!), and have had a busy week continuing to get ready for Christmas. It has been a week full of fun and foibles.

Day 15: A Christmas Carol at the local playhouse
Every year my favorite local playhouse puts on A Christmas Carol for the community. This year I enjoyed being in the audience as much as I enjoyed being on the stage 9(!) years ago.
The boys were great. A little fear of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come from 2 out of 3, but who can blame them?
N was very excited at the prospect of getting his picture taken with a ghost during "Linger Longer" after the show, and he marched straight down the aisle to the stage, repeating "I'm going to take a picture with a ghost" the whole way. Clomp, clomp, clomp up the steps. He was a man with a mission. Suddenly he came face to face with the robes of the Ghost of Christmas Present, looked up, up, up into the face of the spirit...and backed up. All the way to the wall, where he melted into a little pool of fear.
We had to settle for this picture, rather than a picture with a ghost:

God Bless Us, Everyone!

Day 16: Cookie Day!

We spent the day baking. And making a mess. In the end we had dozens and dozens of cookies to give away, and dozens and dozens for us to eat!

decorating and trying not to eat everything in front of us!


We went knocking on the doors of our neighbors, wishing them a Merry Christmas and forcing our baked goods upon them.
Here we are, ready to share the love with those on our block.
I am always intrigued by the different reactions from the neighbors. This year we had everything from someone thinking we were selling our goodies to one man coming all the way down the street a day later to shake the boys' hands and heartily thank them again.
We have also taken to wearing elastic waists in our pants to make room for the leftovers.

Day 17: The Nutcracker book & ballet

We have become fascinated with the story of the Nutcracker, and have read a few versions of the classic story. We like the music, too. I thought this would be the perfect year to introduce a little culture into our household.
However, I didn't think taking the boys to a live ballet performance would be advisable.
So we acquired the 1977 Mikhail Baryshnikov movie that I remember watching on PBS every year as a little girl.
They did fabulously. For awhile.
They enjoyed pretty much all of Act I
And the battle with the Rat King is always exciting.
But then...in Act 2...there was a little too much of this:
And this:
And this for my very boyish boys:
In the end, they thought there might be too much dancing and not enough fighting in the second act.

Day 18: The Museum of Transportation Christmas Trains
What a day this was!

We started off across the river to see the Christmas train exhibit after lunch. The drive isn't a short one. We arrive. I realize that I have left my wallet in a different bag. Fantastic. I call the hubby who says he will gladly give his card number over the phone if they will accept it. We unbuckle and trek across the lot only to discover that the museum is closed on Wednesdays. Heads hanging, we trudge back to the car, buckle back in, and prepare to leave. I take a look at the gas gauge. The low fuel light is on. This wasn't a problem when we left, as I thought I had my wallet and gas is cheaper on that side of the river anyway. However, as I said earlier, it is not a short drive between home and the museum. I call the hubby again.

Let me just take a moment to tell you how awesome he is.

He is awesome.

He totally came to my rescue.

Two days later we tried the museum again. It was completely worth it.
choosing their favorite trains
fascinated by the exhibit
learning about industrial and commercial grade motors from this gentleman
 Did I mention that the boys didn't even complain about having to wait? Yeah, they are pretty awesome, too.

Day 19: The Way of Lights
We love this lights display that takes you on a Journey to Bethlehem with the story it tells as you drive through the display.

There are also camel, pony, and donkey rides. Just for fun we decided to do one. The Twinkies chose to ride Donald the Donkey. W said it was because the donkey was a boy (as opposed to the camels and the ponies?). N said he was too afraid of heights to ride a camel. L just watched with me.

Day 20: Story of Jesus' Birth and Nativity Craft
We decided to make finger puppets of Mary, Joseph, Jesus, a shepherd, an angel, the 3 wise men, and a cow. These are cute, fun, and help us learn the Christmas story.
hard at work with our glue and felt pieces
the finished product!
ready to retell the story of Jesus' birth
  Luke chapter 2 is a good place to read it for yourself.

Day 21: Botanical Gardens

We love trains. And we love plants.
Naturally the Gardenland Express is a perfect stop for us in our Christmas activities.


This year the gardens also put on a beautiful lights display called Garden Glow. It was a cold and rainy evening, but it was thoroughly enjoyable.

magnetic snowmen to decorate

posing for silly pictures

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Advent Week 2

It's been another busy week around our house. On top of all the Christmassy fun you are about to see, we have been fighting off some nasty germs.

Day 8: Egg Nog, Popocorn, & The Muppets Christmas Carol

Shorty was sick that night and wisely chose to sleep it off. The rest of us thoroughly enjoyed Kermit & the Gang
 The Dynamic Duo have been singing this little number all week.

Their little brother might agree with the line "we specialized in causing pain..."

Day 9: Make Ornament Gifts
This one was earmarked especially for Daddy
Look out, family members! Some of these beauties might be headed your way!
 Day 10: Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow! & Snowy Craft

My picture for this day will not load up. Boo.
We learned a favorite Christmas Carol & sang it over and over again while making blizzard pictures with crayon, paint, and "snow"
Since I can't show you what we did, I'll leave you with this instead.

Day 11: Hot Chocolate (with homemade whipped cream) & A Charlie Brown Christmas
I tried to capture a cute image on the TV, but didn't...and was too lazy to actually adjust things to make it show. Forgive me.
Just one of the many reasons we love the Peanuts Gang:

Day 12: Make & Send Christmas Cards

The boys picked out a few friends & family members they would like to send personal greetings to, and we got busy with cardstock, markers, and stickers!
There is something special about receiving a card in the mailbox.

Day 13: Read Luke 2:1-20 & Crafts

I thought if I made them keep paper plates underneath their crafts it would contain the glitter. If it worked, I would hate to see what the kitchen would have looked like without those plates.
Our glittery votive candle holders represent how the glory of God shone around the shepherds.
The glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
Our pinecone angels were among the host to appear an announce Jesus' birth to the shepherds
 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Day 14: Build a Snowman & Caroling

It snowed! We were so excited that we needed to include this in our day!
Meet PigPen, our dirty snowman
an awful lot of this happened during the building process
Then we went Christmas Caroling on Mainstreet with our favorite music teacher!
Here's a little business plug for her.

We Wish You a Merry Christmas!

Jingle Bells!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

I Heart...

I heart tantrums.

And today has been full of them. So I must be having the time of my life.

Breakfast Tantrum: we don't have Cliff Bars. It was the end of the world.
Getting Dressed Tantrum: refusal to put on clothes by himself. It was apocalyptic that I was busy and couldn't help.
Time for School Tantrum: he had to stop coloring in order to start our lesson in a timely fashion. Inconceivable.
Time for School Tantrum #2: our "starting school" song started before he decided to get to class. Heaven forbid we start on time without him.
After School Tantrum: I wouldn't carry him up the steps. There was no way he could make it up on his own.
Lunch Tantrum: the food on the plate was unsatisfactory. He refused to eat.
After Lunch Tantrum: he was hungry. Surprise.
Free Play Tantrum: he was required to keep the Legos in his room...as has always been the rule. It was unbelievably cruel for me to enforce said rule.
Clean Up Tantrum: I took to the trash a toy they had broken by trampling on it rather than cleaning it up.

And it hasn't been just one kid who is a little "off" today. All 3.
Maybe Mommy, too.
In between tantrums, they have been testing every rule. I may or may not be finding comfort in the kitchen.
It's a good thing I heart tantrums their sweet faces.
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