Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Night- 2010

On Christmas Night, we always head to my parent's house for a Christmas celebration with my family. We arrived around 4:00 and spent some time just visiting with one another and then we let the children open their stockings. My mom loves to do stockings for her grandchildren and she always fills them with unique, fun things. I look forward to digging into them each year.

After watching the kids play for a while we headed to the kitchen for a delicious steak dinner...steak, baked potatoes, salad, and coffee and dessert. It was so good...thanks Dad for standing outside in the snow flurries to grill out for your family and thanks Mom for preparing everything else. It was yummy! After dinner, we started opening presents.

Here are a few shots from our night.
My sister Lindsay.... Gracen was stuck to her when we first got to the house.

Hayden and Gracen

Me, Gene, and Reagan....Gracen missed the family picture because she is just too busy.
Reagan opening one of her gifts. She loved this Glitterizer from the movie Barbie and a Fashion Fairy Tale. Basically, Barbie steps into this special wardrobe and she gets glitterized...which means a fan shoots glitter all over her clothes. You would think that all the glitter would stay inside the doesn't. After two days of playing with it, all the glitter is finally gone and for the next two days, I will continue to sweep up glitter. It's everywhere. (Mom, if I ever suggest that you buy Reagan a gift with "glitter" in the name....DON'T.....Reagan did love it though. We will have to buy replacement glitter this summer when she can play with it outside.)

Here is Gracen opening one of her gifts. She is all up on it, checking it out.

And Gracen opening another gift. She was very slow, but thorough, when it came to opening her gifts. I am sure that she was the last one to finish.

Here is Gene opening one of our gifts from my Mom and Dad. It is a new foyer table and we just love it.

And here it is in our foyer. It is just beautiful in the space.

Reagan getting a hug from Gram.

Reagan and Gracen hanging out with Gram and Pap.

It was a great Christmas!
I really tried to slow down during the month of December and spend time with Gene and with the girls. We spent a lot of time reading Christmas books and watching Christmas movies, and doing Christmas crafts....but the month went by in a blink. I still didn't get to do all that I wanted to do with my family. In the middle of the month, I thought Christmas morning would never get here, and now that it is December 29th, I cannot believe that it has already come and gone. Time passes so quickly. I wish I could go back a few weeks and try to slow down a little bit more and be a little bit more intentional with the quality time.
In the new year, I need to do just that... try to slow down and enjoy the here and the now. I stress about things in the future and that robs me of just enjoying moment to moment.
More on resolutions in a few days.
Until next time...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Morning 2010

This will be a short entry. I have been so busy today trying to get my house back in order from the Christmas festivities. I finally got all of the Christmas decorations packed away, most of the laundry caught up, and the house pretty decent. It is almost 9:00 at night and all of this has taken me most of the day. I wanted to clean out both girls' rooms to make space for all the new stuff, but I just ran out of fumes and time.

I wanted to at least show a few pictures from our Christmas morning. We had a great time together. I still can hardly believe that it has already come and gone.

I woke up about an hour before either girl and it was all I could do not to wake them up. Of course, Gene warned me not to because he didn't share my enthusiasm for getting up so I didn't. I let Reagan wake up on her own, which was around 7:00. We got Gracen up right after that.

Reagan was so excited and practically ran into the den and she hollered out, "He came!" when she saw her gifts and the stockings. I guess she thought maybe there was a slight chance that Santa wouldn't come. She went to the plate of cookies and the carrrots to make sure that they were gone. She was really pleased that Santa ate her cookies. She bubbled with excitement, while Gracen just looked confused at the mess laying around. She got into it pretty quickly though.

Their stockings
Reagan digging in

Gracen sitting with her stuff

Gracen checking out Reagan's stuff

Opening the first gift....with some of Santa's loot in the background

Gracen opening one of her gifts. She shocked me opening gifts. She took her time and slowly unwrapped each gift. Reagan totally lost interest when she was Gracen's age.
Playing together after the dust settled.

And of course, the reason for the celebration...

We ate breakfast together and munched throughout the day. We watched a few Christmas movies, while we put toys together and played with them, and just had a lazy day at home.
We headed to my mom and dad's house around 3:30 for Christmas at their house. I'll post a short entry about that next time.
Until then...

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Eve

I simply cannot believe that I haven't blogged since last Tuesday. My apologies to any faithful readers that I have, if I have any. Gene was off all last week and I had planned to blog every morning, but there were so many things to do with last minute errands, baking, wrapping last minute gifts, and doing various activities with the girls, that my computer time just didn't happen.
We did go to Zoo Lights on Wednesday night, but I was NOT impressed. I took a few pictures that I am not going to even share because, honestly, they are not all that interesting. Zoo lights will not be a "tradition" for us.
I am going to do a series of 3 posts about Christmas because 1 post would be ridiculously long with all the pictures. I thought I would just start with Christmas Eve.
I just knew this day would drag on endlessly, but it flew by to me. We watched a Christmas movie that morning and just spent some time laying around together. Then we started baking cookies, which literally took about 4 hours. I was shocked at that. I just didn't figure in the time that would be needed to prepare the dough, roll it out, cut out cookies, roll the dough again, cook a few pan of cookies, let them cool, move them off the pan, get the next set rolled and cut out, let them cook, let them cool, etc. And the decorating....who knew that could take so long. I actually lost my stamina for it, and Gene ended up doing most of the decorating, which I am sure he was so excited about.
Here are the girls ready to mix the dough.
Here is Reagan working on the first batch. And if you ate one of these cookies, Reagan scrubbed her hands before she touched anything.

This was the second batch of cookies. There was flour EVERYWHERE. It was all over her and all over the floor. Gene is very clean and kept looking at the mess saying, "My goodness".

I skipped a lot of the middle steps, but here are some of the finished cookies.

I couldn't get this picture to turn, but I wanted to show Gene "busy" in the kitchen. Reagan was standing right by him, talking his head off.

The rest of the afternoon was spent cleaning up, eating lunch, a little rest time for the girls, and then getting ready to head over to our church for the Christmas Eve Service at 5:00. We left our house around 4:00 because I had to run in Publix and pick up our "Happy Birthday Jesus" cake for Christmas Day.
After the service, we headed to Gene's parent's house for their little Christmas celebration. We had a great time together. His mom kept saying it was one of the best that she can remember, and I am so glad that she had such a good night with all her grandchildren.
Here is Paw Paw with both my girls.

Gene's parents with all the grandchildren

Miss Gracen

Reagan opening her new guitar. This was her favorite gift, and she has slept with it for a few nights now.

Gracen playing in her favorite gift of the night.

Jacob opening his present from us. (I didn't get a picture of Abby opening her present from us because she was too quick.)

Look at the mess !
Abby and Gracen playing. Abby had changed into one of her "gifts"...Christmas pajamas and booties from Justice, one of her favorite stores. Too cute!
Once we were home, Reagan immediately got ready for bed. Here she is putting the cookies and milk out for Santa. She placed the plate right by the fireplace "so Santa would be sure to see it".
She insisted on putting out 8 carrots for each reindeer.

Reagan slept in our room with us so we could keep an eye on her. She would have been up in the middle of the night, playing with gifts otherwise. We snuggled in bed and read the Christmas story, a book called 'Twas the Real Night Before Christmas', a poem about the nativity, talked (again) about why we celebrate Christmas, and prayed together before she drifted off to sleep. I was then back up, getting things ready.
The whole night was so much fun!
Until next time...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Bass Pro Christmas

Our family had a great evening at Bass Pro last night. We love going to their North Pole area to play all the games and visit Santa. We also enjoy the yummy restaurant. Here is a picture of Reagan waiting on her food.

And here is Gracen waiting on her food... Both girls drank every drop of their drinks before any food arrived at our table, which took 25 minutes. Then it was like pulling teeth to make them eat because they were so full from their drinks.

Here is Gene and the girls hanging out at the fish tank. Gracen was amazed at this and kept saying, "ish, ish, ish" while pointing at the glass and then pointing at me and then pointing back to the glass. In this picture she is pointing at me.

Gracen...hanging out in her stroller.

Reagan...hanging out on the rocks around the water. I am sure children aren't supposed to sit here, but oh well.

Reagan shooting one of the many toy guns in the store. (*She played one of the bow and arrow dart games and nailed the target two different times....dead in the center. The lady working that booth just cheered and cheered for her.)

Here we are waiting for Santa. Gracen never would smile for the camera. She was very uneasy with Santa being so near, and she didn't really care for the large Nutcracker soldier behind us either. She kept looking back at it to make sure it hadn't moved.

Here is Reagan just talking to Santa. When we arrived there was no line at all, so Santa spent several minutes just talking to Reagan about what she wanted for Christmas. I thought it was a special little moment.

Here is a copy of our picture with Santa. And yes, I had to sit with the girls to get Gracen to calm down. She absolutely came unglued when I placed her in Santa's lap. She started screaming and threw both arms straight up in the air trying to slip out of his arms and reach for me all at the same time. I had to laugh. After she calmed down, we got this picture with me in it. Of course, neither girl smiled. I still have the picture though as a memory.

This week they had a sugar cookie decorating table set up complete with snowmen shaped sugar cookies, frosting, and sprinkles. Both girls really enjoyed doing this activity.

We had a fun night!
Tonight we are headed to zoo lights so I should have more pictures tomorrow.
Until next time...

This and That

I didn't have one specific thing on my mind this morning, so I thought I would just share a few pictures and a few random thoughts.
Here are a few shots from our last spaghetti night! You'll remember that Gracen is learning to feed herself, so this meal gets a little messy. The mess is worth it because both girls are so picky and this is one meal that they will both eat. I try to make the meal healthy...whole wheat noodles, organic sauce, and turkey meat.
Gracen did pretty well and didn't even mess up her clothes...well, at least not too bad!
Reagan's expressions kill me. Here she is, already in her pajamas, learning to twirl her spaghetti, a new skill she is very proud of.

The big bite...and yes, she got all of that in her mouth.

And then she picked up my sunglasses that were laying on the table and asked me to take a picture of her wearing them. Dinner entertainment...

Here a few shots from Reagan's Christmas party at her preschool. I actually left my camera at home, so these pictures came from my good friend, Cassandra Hicks. Her son Drew is one of Reagan's dear friends and classmates. (Thanks Cass!)
This is the whole class singing Christmas songs with musical instruments.

Here is a close up of Reagan singing "Go Tell It On the Mountain". This song was very loud!

And here is Katelyn Crosby, Drew Hicks, and friends since birth and classmates. What a sweet picture!

And here is Reagan doing some Christmas art....the very simplest thing I could think of that day! She loves to glue things, so it doesn't take much to entertain her.

The finished "cotton ball" Santa...

*We have a fun week ahead...
Tonight we are going to Bass Pro to visit the North Pole, take in all the sights, and get a picture with Santa. We are going to eat supper there....yum!
Wednesday night we are going to Zoo Lights with my sister's family. Reagan is so excited about this and has been doing a "count down".
Thursday we are going to do some more Christmas art and read more Christmas books. I have been reading "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" to Reagan this week. It is her first chapter, with about 7 chapters and a little over a hundred pages. I didn't know if it would hold her attention, but she has loved it. When I finish one chapter, she will beg me to read another, which can take 40 minutes. If you know Reagan, that is a long time to sit still. I am excited about this because chapter books will open up a whole new world of books to choose from, and hopefully she will love to read as she grows up.
Friday (Christmas Eve) we are making several different kinds of cookies and will probably spend hours decorating them. That night we have our Christmas Eve service at our church, followed by our Christmas celebration at Gene's parents house, complete with turkey and dressing and all the wonderful side dishes from Thanksgiving.
Saturday is Christmas, so that will be a busy day with my own little family, followed by a lazy day at home and then a Christmas steak dinner/celebration at my parent's house.
I should have lots of pictures to come!
*We are all ready for Christmas. Every gift is wrapped and Santa is ready to deliver. We have been talking about Jesus' birth story every single day and I have ordered a "Happy Birthday, Jesus" cake for Saturday. The anticipation is killing me!
Until next time...