Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, December 29, 2008


I have been asked a few questions in my comments section...

1. What is a Christmas jar? I had mentioned that I read "Christmas Jars" by Jason Wright ( I highly recommend this book by the way) and I wanted to start my own Christmas jar. This involves setting out a jar and filling it with change throughout the year and then secretly giving it away next Christmas. Every Christmas I wonder what service our family could do and then the season goes by without doing any service at all. This year was no different. The Christmas jar is a great way for our family to serve someone or a family next Christmas and we can contribute to it all year long. And we'll start tonight as I present the plan during Family Home Evening...I didn't realize writing this post would generate such a great idea for my lesson tonight!

2. Do my kids grow out of sleeping so soundly? I am happy to! My kids are all great sleepers and the older ones never wake up in the middle of the least they don't wake me up if they do...unless they throw up in their bed. I think my kids learn to sleep through anything because there is always noise around them.

3. Is there a specific reason for getting rid of our cookie cutters? Yes. They were old and starting to rust.

4. What special thing did I receive for Christmas? I received money, which is always fun to spend! I'm hoping to put it toward a family pass to a local indoor pool. My grandmother made me a beautiful scarf, and I got a new pair of pajamas, which I am currently 2:14pm. My kids are all dressed. :-) Our family also received a membership to the Children's Museum in Bangor, which I forgot to mention in my Christmas post. We are very excited to use it!

5. Where did we get our red chairs for the kids? Santa, but I've seen the same exact chairs in the Pottery Barn Kids Catalog. We also have a Blue's Clues Thinking Chair, which has been around for about 7 years now. I can't remember which store we bought it from, but I'm sure it was Walmart or Toys R Us. They may have one on e-bay.

It wasn't asked if our waffle maker would stick around or not after the disaster Christmas breakfast, but I'll let you know that I'm up for giving it one more try. Matt was ready to throw it out the door on Christmas, but I have this crazy desire to try it again.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas 2008

I think we can all say that we had a great Christmas. Maybe the best Christmas yet. Matt & I weren't able to buy any presents this year, so we have family and friends to thank for the many gifts our children received. THANK YOU!

Zoe & Emily ran down the hallway around 5:10am Christmas morning. Matt sent them back to bed to wait a bit longer. We all got up at 6:00. I called my parents to wake them out of dreamland to come over and join us. My grandmother came over, too. The kids opened their stockings and tried to browse through their gifts with me telling them to leave their gifts alone every few minutes. Eleanor REALLY wanted to open this big present from Santa!

Grammie & Grampie are here!
Usually we let the kids open their stockings, then we eat breakfast when my parents arrive, and then open gifts. Not this year. I don't think we would have survived breakfast before presents this year, so we opened gifts first.
Zoe and Emily love their snow globes from Santa. Some of the other gifts they love are their new nintendo games, clothes for their American Girl Dolls, Gift cards from Claire's, scarves, sweaters, and coupon books from Grammie to do fun things with her like eating out, going to the movies, and sleeping over.

Kate's baby doll was a big hit with her just like we thought it would be. Grandma sent baby doll accessories, including a beautiful blanket, the cutest little burp cloth, and a baby bed. Kate loves all of it!

Eleanor loves her Nintendo,
this cheerleading outfit for her doll from Grandma & Grandpa and her My Little Pony Carnival from Santa.
Zach got a lot of fun gifts, like his backpack, paint pens, military play set,
rifle, (notice he's shooting Eleanor in the head)
the perfect sized Wall-E,
and this car mat.

Noah tried to catch some zzzzzzz's and was successful for a few minutes.

There's always some crying on Christmas.
We love the ornament that Eleanor made for us! Her smile is so big and contagious.
We are so happy my grandmother is in town for this Christmas weekend. Even Noah is happy and lets her hold him. Did you notice that he now has his very own Longhorns hat?!

Here are some pictures of the kids enjoying their new toys and the rest of Christmas day.

Move over Kate, Noah is taking your seat!
So, breakfast was interesting this year. We didn't have money for our traditional and yummy sausage egg casserole with cinnamon rolls and homemade bread (in the bread machine), so we settled on homemade bread and waffles...the kids requested waffles. They were in luck because I hadn't simplified our waffle iron yet...even though in the 12 years that Matt and I have been married, we have NEVER used it. Why not try it out on Christmas morning? This is why. The first sign of trouble was the batter oozing out of the waffle maker and then the sticking, uncooked batter when we opened it. Guess we're having homemade bread and pancakes made with waffle batter. It worked.

Ho, Ho, Ho! We hope you had a Merry Christmas!

We did! We played, we cleaned, and we sent Zoe and Emily to Mom and Dad's in the afternoon for a sleep over. They were anxious to use those coupons!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve Pictures

Emily's Gingerbread House that she decorated at school yesterday.
We hope you like your cookies, Santa!

Kate sound asleep on the living room floor, missing out on the last of our Christmas Eve fun.

I finally made Noah's ornament this evening. Each of the kids have an ornament like this with their name and year they were born on it. The girls' are red and the boys' are blue.

Noah looking so big!

My sister sends us great Christmas gifts. One year she sent us this Santa cookie plate, cup, and pitcher (Zoe is holding the pitcher in the cookie picture above). I made a new sugar cookie recipe today that I discovered is easy to make shapes with, but as you can see from the picture below, I got rid of our cookie cutters, so we'll have to get more creative next year.

Eleanor drew a picture for Santa and wrote a note to him saying "these are for you", meaning the cookies. She wrote the #5 to tell her age, so he will be understanding of her spelling mistakes.

Merry Christmas Eve!

As of yesterday, I am the proud Mom of the pogo stick record holder at the Miles Lane School! Zoe jumped 592 times in her gym class, beating the 520 record. Way to jump, Zoe!

We all went shopping last night for sibling gifts. I took Eleanor, Zach, Zoe, and Emily into the Family Dollar one by one to look for the perfect gifts while Matt sat in the car waiting. The cashier was so patient with us as we counted out mostly nickels and dimes with each purchase. The kids did a great job staying focused on buying a gift for the sibling whose name they picked from a bag and I think they all picked gifts that their siblings will like. They are all very excited to find out who picked their name and to open their presents!

Yesterday, Eleanor tried to get me to open the gift she made for me and Matt at school and was quite annoyed when I refused. I think it's sweet that she is so anxious for us to open her gift.

Matt and Zoe are off to court this morning. Last night at dinner, Matt mentioned having court this morning and Zoe asked him what he did in court. Matt invited her to go with him to see for herself, so she did. Her assignment is to take note of all the piercings and tattoos that the defendants have and how many the lawyers and judges have.

We'll be making cookies for Santa this afternoon and then we'll head over to my parents' home for our traditional viewing of

and our low-key dinner of sandwiches and chips. We're looking forward to it!

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Latest

FRIDAY: Zach, Kate, Noah, & I went over to Sunshine's house for a playdate. Zach has so much fun playing with Kai and Koa. I spend the time trying to figure out which twin is Kai and which is Koa...I can pretty much tell when they are together, or when they are wearing different colors, but when they are apart I'm not so confident. I also have fun chatting with Sunshine and looking at Baby Bo. She is a few months younger than Noah...future mates???...and she is so good! She is much happier than Noah who I have nicknamed Grumpy Gus. I think he is teething, but no sign of a tooth yet. Lately, I either need to be feeding him or holding him while standing up. I'd really like for him to be content while I'm holding him sitting down.
Side note...Eleanor wants to invite her friend Lucy to her birthday party right now. She doesn't care that her party isn't until May. She's asking me how to spell different words now. It's nice that I can tell her the letters and she says "got it" instead of "what does that look like" which is what she did before going to Kindergarten.
Okay, back to Friday. Matt invited some friends over for Man Camp. So the kids and I picked up Zoe's friend, Morgan, who we invited to spend the night, and then we partied...and stayed warm...and were well fed. My mom came over with Hawaiian pizza, cheese sticks, fries, and soda. We ate, the kids watched episodes of "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody" on Netflix and my mom and I played a game of Phase 10. After my mom left, the kids got settled in by the Christmas tree and watched a few movies. The little ones fell asleep first and the older girls fell asleep during the second movie.

Zoe had basketball practice at 9am. My parents stopped by to pick Zoe and Morgan up, while the rest of us tidied up and Matt unfroze our kitchen pipes. Luckily, closing all the heat vents except for the one in the kitchen did the trick. Zoe and Morgan wanted to go sledding and frankly I wanted to send them outside, but it was too cold. Dawn, you didn't need to send the deep freeze our way! It has been cold, cold, cold! In the afternoon, I met Morgan's mom at a nearby gas station, so Morgan could head home with her family and then Zoe, Emily, Noah and I went to Family Dollar to buy a gift for Emily's classmate, Emily who Emily picked to buy for. Did you catch that? Usually I have my Sunday School lesson pretty much squared away by Saturday, but this day I had no idea what I was going to do for my lesson and I couldn't seem to buckle down and put a lesson together. My mom came over to play another game of Phase 10 and then she took Eleanor and Zach home with her to spend the night. That was nice. Eleanor and Zach were so excited to be going over that all morning they asked when Grammie was going to be here, so they could leave. After dinner, I finally shut myself in my room with Grumpy Gus to prepare my lesson. I wondered why I was having such a hard time preparing it and wondered if I was even going to teach the lesson, but I was going to be prepared either way. I didn't come out until it was prepared, a few hours later. Everyone was sound asleep, including Matt, but not Grumpy Gus of course.

We woke up to another cold day and the pipe to our toilet was frozen. We didn't have time to fix it before church, so we got ready and left. We were expecting a big snow storm to start in the afternoon, but it started to snow a bit on our way to church. When I saw the snow, I had a strong feeling that we would only have Sacrament meeting and I wouldn't be teaching my class. We were a little late getting to church, but Matt heard the announcement that there would only be Sacrament meeting and he sent Emily back to the coat rack where I was to let me know. Now I could enjoy our Christmas program knowing I didn't have to teach my lesson. Zoe and Emily did a great job singing a song with the Primary kids (Eleanor refused) and Zoe did a great job reciting the scriptures she memorized for the program. She spoke slowly and clearly and we were very proud! The program was so uplifting and the music was beautiful. We went over to my parents' home after church for lunch and to celebrate my Dad's birthday. We had a very nice time. When we got home, we shut all the vents except for the bathroom vent and unfroze the pipe to the toilet. We prepared for a power outage, but thankfully it never happened.

TODAY (MONDAY): No school...Snow Day! We got the snow we anticipated and it looks like we'll be having a white Christmas. :-)
Another cold morning and the kitchen pipes were frozen, so I unfroze them with the shutting vents trick. We are so thankful that works! I've been cleaning today and the kids have been cleaning, holding Noah, watching "Zack and Cody" and playing in the snow. It has been a pretty good day. The girls actually wanted to go to school today because they were going to have their Christmas parties, but they'll have them tomorrow. They have a half day tomorrow and then they'll be on Christmas vacation! We are all excited for Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Learning About Diwali

I took Zach, Kate, and Noah into Zoe's classroom this afternoon to watch her presentation on Diwali...India's holiday. Her class has separated into groups to study different countries and how they celebrate Christmas. Zoe hasn't had a lot of homework during this project because she was supposed to be doing a project with her group or on her own. Her project turned out to be me going to Walmart with my mom and picking up dried fruit. I'm surprised Zoe didn't put more effort into the homework part of the project. It will be interesting to see what grade she gets for her homework portion of the project. Anyway, the kids and I sat through 3 presentations, one of them was Zoe's group. It was stressful. Zach was not super quiet like I asked him to be and Kate wandered around. After the first presentation, Mrs. LaLonde encouraged her students to focus on the presentation and not on the little ones. Great, we're a distraction here. When the first group got up front to do their presentation over again because a grandparent had showed up late, I took the kids out into the hall because I just could not sit through another presentation. This turned out to be a bad decision because the kids still needed to be quiet, but weren't, and now they had the hall to run up and down. We then had snacks when the presentation was over, which was also stressful because cups of rice pudding were given to Kate and Zach. I was expecting a huge spill at any moment, but they did very well and only dribbled on themselves. Minor. I was so ready to leave when the kids finished their snacks. The grandparent who arrived late turned out to be a huge help when we left. When he saw me rounding up the kids to leave, he helped Kate with her boots and coat and then he offered to carry her out, which at first Kate looked at him like he was crazy, but then she held her arms out to him. He walked with me to the car and after I got everyone in the car along with myself, I was glad the adventure was over and vowed never to go anywhere again with the kids...until tomorrow morning for a play date, but that's different. An outing like today just makes me appreciate more our lazy winter days at home. After I told my mom about my afternoon, she offered to take the day off next time something comes up at school like that, and I think that's a great idea! Zoe did a great job on her project with her group. Mrs. LaLonde said Zoe's class has done the best work on their projects than any other class. I wonder if she says that every year.
Here is Kate trying to get Zoe's attention before her presentation.

Here is Zoe during her presentation

and here is me letting Kate play with my camera to keep her happy and quiet.

There are 4 more pictures like this, but I won't bore you with them.

On a different note, I stopped by the library on our way home to drop off some books and Mrs. Spooner gave me "The Christmas Sweater" by Glenn Beck to read. I had asked Emeric, who also works at the library, about a month ago if they were planning on getting a copy of Glenn Beck's book, so he wrote the title down. I had forgotten I had asked about it, so it was a pleasant surprise when they brought it up. Matt read it this evening and said it was good. I am currently reading "The Santa Letters" by Stacy Gooch-Anderson, which is very good. I thought it would be my last Christmas book of the season, so I was taking my time reading it, but now I will finish it and read "The Christmas Sweater" in the next week. I read "Christmas Jars" by Jason F. Wright and that is a great book! I highly recommend it. It made me want to start my own Christmas jar for next Christmas.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mr. Noah

is at the age where playing with anything he shouldn't be playing with is a lot more fun than playing with his toys. When I was getting ready for bed last night, Noah was too quiet and content. Matt and I found him playing with the Christmas lights...his toy abandoned for the bright, blue bulbs!

Thank you for sharing your favorite children's Christmas books. I hope to read them in the future. The kids opened this book last night and Matt said it is his favorite so far.

It is snowing! Apparently it is not affecting the roads because the kids are at school. They'll be home soon enough, though because they only have half a day. I'm thinking they can spend the afternoon outside playing in the snow. :-)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Favorite Christmas Books

Emily unwrapped this Christmas book last night, which has become a favorite. It is such a cute story and the pictures are beautiful.

The kids also unwrapped a bonus book from Grandma & Grandpa. When the 3 older girls saw the cover of the book, they got excited and all said they have heard the story and love it. It IS a great story...but we knew it would be because Grandma always picks out the best books! Thanks, Janet!

What Christmas books do your kids love to read?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree...

This picture doesn't really do our tree justice, but we have our Christmas tree! A shorter tree with the top still on would look better, but once the tree was inside, it was staying inside, so we cut the top off. Why didn't we cut the bottom off instead? Because we're too lazy. This isn't the tree I picked out, but I think the same thing would have happened with my "perfect tree". Matt and I put the lights on and then the kids put the ornaments on the tree. I handed the ornaments out to keep things organized and to make sure the homemade ornaments and name ornaments were put on the tree by the creators and child who matched the name. I think it went very well. The kids had a great time and the tree looks well balanced...I think that is due to Matt's supervision.

Kate refused to pose with her siblings.