Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Eve!

Who needs Rudolph?

I think *A* finally "got it" tonight and realizes what tomorrow is all about. People all day have been talking to her about Santa and she just looks at them with a strange polite smile. Well, then her Nana read her the Night Before Christmas and we talked about the Nativity story (again) as we drove around and looked at lights tonight. After that she talked about how Santa is going to get sick because of all that up and down chimneys, and then said she needed to be quiet so she wouldn't scare the reindeer. Also, I love that we decided to wait to put Jesus in our Nativity scene because it is the biggest deal to her that she will get to play with Jesus tomorrow! When she sees a Nativity scene with Jesus she gasps and wants to take him out and hold him.

Here we are after dinner tonight celebrating a friend's birthday. After leaving their house, we drove around to look at Christmas lights, came home and put new pjs on, put out cookies for Santa, opened 1 gift each (the kids got new Christmas books), and then Daddy told the Nativity story using our Playmobil Nativity set.

We'll be out of commission for the next few days visiting family and such, so I'll say Merry Christmas now see you in 2009! If you are a loyal blog follower, thanks and I hope to hear more from you in the new year! Comments are ALWAYS appreciated and I'd love to know what you enjoy about the blog. So many different types of people from different aspects of our lives read this blog so I have to cater to many different needs, and I'd love to occasionally know what people think. :)

I may pop in if I get a chance but if not, happy and safe holidays to all!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Weekend Events

Having Daddy home makes us busy busy!
Here's what we've been up to:

Thursday morning yoga lessons:

after doing some basic moves, *A* started making up her own. Don't ask about the shirts, apparently they were doing hot yoga. That night we went to the Old-Timey Music Jam.

Friday *A* and I went with her Nana to the Nutcracker. We went last year and she liked it, but this year we went to the Atlanta Ballet's version at the Fox and she LOVED it! I haven't been to this one in probably 10 years and they've updated it with new dances and costumes, and the story was so well done. We've been spoiled now and can never go back to the community ballet school version.

Saturday I did a little shopping while in civilization and then we met daddy half-way at a chick-fil-a to return home. Man, I miss Chick-fil-a. The kids played, *A* fell between the window and the booth and bonked her head, and then we headed to a really cool music store where ^J^ was in old-time music heaven. We bought the kids kazoos and heard jingle bells kazoo-style all the way home. They had really cool ukuleles at this store so when they got home, *A* wanted uke lessons..

Sunday we cleaned house, did our own Advent service, and made a gingerbread house

Then we headed to a friend's house for dinner with families who are staying on the mountain for the Holidays. ^J^ was asked to go get some instruments (twist his arm), so then we had live carols with banjo, recorder, guitar and keyboard. After the carols we broke into Indigo Girls and Violent Femmes. Good Times! Oh, and *A* bonked the other side of her head on their kitchen table so now she has a bruise on each side of her forehead.

The feeling of Christmas approaching is in the air, and the kids are feeling it too. This morning *A* came to wake me up and looked out the window and indignantly asked, "Why, is it not snowing?!?" I know! It is 13 degrees here and with the windchill it's 1...1! Unfortunately it doesn't look like snow anytime soon but we can still hope right?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

We are Family!

^J^ is *almost* done with this semester and it's been so nice to have had him home for extended periods of time over the last 2 days! The house is clean, we've had meals together, time for Advent activities, time to go workout, etc, and it feels so good to have time to enjoy each other and our cozy house.

The busyness of life was starting to get to me, and I'm ready for the break as much as he is. I think the kids are ready too. Yesterday at PMO, *A* kept asking me if school was over and they both have been a little under-the-weather this week. Today we laid around in our pjs until 10am and when we were finally getting dressed, *A* kept asking where we were going...she's so used to us rushing around and going somewhere or having someone over, and it was boggling her mind that we were home with nothing planned! It has me thinking about homeschooling again and how it would work. Would we get tired of being home all day? (No, because we wouldn't be home all day most days) Would my social butterfly child go crazy? (Maybe, but we'd have social time for her with friends) Would I go crazy? (Maybe, but I know those crazy moments would be mixed with wonderful moments too). I don't know what we'll do about it, but I do know that today the kids and I had the time to bake, read books for uninterrupted periods of time, find and sharpen colored pencils and then draw, do puzzles, mop the kitchen (*A* did this), finish decorating the tree, move the tree to a new location (and then sweep), eat breakfast and lunch together, and now, nap. Many of my favorite blogging mommies homeschool and I especially love this blog and the author wrote this post about why she homeschools. It is something I've considered for a long time and I agree with her reasons and sympathize with her struggles. Anywho, this is what's on my mind today.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pictures by *A*

*A* has gotten really into our camera lately and now knows exactly how to turn it on and take a's her latest:
Her Daddy:

Our tree(unfinished):


And Rudolf!

I think I've finally decided what will be under our tree for her! But is it fair for an almost 4 year old to get a new digital camera and not me? I guess I could always borrow hers!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sweets for My Sweet

Today is my sweet hubby's birthday and he's hard at work right now finishing up his first semester of seminary. So I've been hard at work making yummy goodies for him to enjoy when he comes home. His birthday cake is coconut, here it is after being attacked:

I also made everyone's favorite Ginger Chocolate Cookies and only if you are very lucky do you get to eat these.
They are high-maintenance and have weird steps like 'dissolve 1/2 t of baking soda in 1.5 t of very hot water'. I felt a little like the little red hen: "Who will help me sift the flour?", "Who will help me grate the ginger?", "Who will help me pour the (slow as) molasses?" No luck, but man are they good. I just wish it made more cookies for the work. I was going to make a double batch but we were out of fresh ginger. Here is the recipe if you dare (or care) to make them. :) Our friend Abby who generously offered to babysit tonight will be getting some of these amazing treats as a thank you. We are lucky enough to be treated to a fancy dinner tonight at this legendary (Al Capone rumors abound) restaurant. Happy Birthday ^J^!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Welcoming Christmas

Remember those sweet voices from the Grinch singing around the tree:
"Fah who for-aze!
Dah who dor-aze!
Welcome Christmas,
Come this way!"

We are welcoming Christmas this weekend by finally getting the house all Christmased up. Decorations are down from the attic, the tree is lit, a few presents are bought and or crafted,
and *some* Christmas cookies are made thanks to my mom who came yesterday to do our family tradition of spritz cookies. We will make more cookies this week and I will of course make my famous ginger-chocolate cookies for ^J^'s birthday on Monday. They are the most labor-intensive cookies I make, but they're his absolute favorite and he's worth it. I Hope your weekend is full of warm feelings, holiday smells and flickering lights.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I Got Skillz!

Here is the lovely fire I made tonight. I was never a girl scout, but I pretended to be one a few years ago and I learned all about what fires need using snack food. Pretzel sticks = logs, potato sticks = kindling, red hots = fire, etc...

Most importantly, I watched my Dad build loads of fires and I know fires need newspaper and air...something dear ^J^ never picked up, and the source of much frustration when he tries to make a fire (he was never a boy scout). Anywho, I'm all about bragging on myself tonight because not only did I make a rockin' fire, I cut my own child's hair! Now, grandmothers don't start screaming yet. I kept some of the curls, it was just a trim. But even a trim turns baby boy into ALL BOY...

Here are some more pics of this momentous event...

::See Gram and Nana, I left some curls::

::He was SUCH a good boy!::

::Checking out the first snips (we kept them of course). When the hair fell to the ground he would say, "bubbles!" Odd, but funny!::

Monday, December 8, 2008

Lessons and Carols

Last night we went to Sewanee's Advent tradition of Lessons and Carols. It is modeled after the King's College service in Cambridge (you can usually hear that version on NPR on Christmas Eve). I encourage everyone to come see this at some point in their lives. It was truly beautiful and I had goosebumps throughout and tears at the last song. Here is my favorite verse from the last hymn they sang ("Once in David's Royal City"):

He came down to earth from heaven,
Who is God and Lord of all,
And his shelter was a stable,
And his cradle was a stall;
With the poor, and mean, and lowly
Lived on earth our Saviour holy.

There is so much I want to say about this service, but words do not do it justice, it is really just something one needs to experience.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Jolly ol' St. Nick

December 6th is St. Nicolas Day and this is typically a celebrated day in the Episcopal church. The kids' Parent's Morning Out program had a St. Nick event yesterday with crafts, music, bible readings by kids, and the charitable St. Nick himself (played by our friend and Sophie's former dad, Greg).

They made snowflake ornaments,
got their pictures taken with St. Nick, ate cookies, and learned the history of the man who we now call Santa Claus.

I love that he was a REAL person who gave anonymously. At the end of the program the kids went to pick up their things, including their shoes, and they found chocolate gold coins inside!
I have friends who traditionally do their stockings on St. Nicolas day, I like this idea, but I wasn't quite organized enough for that this year. After wards we went to an old fashioned, small town Christmas parade and then got our tree! It was a great day, and now our house smells wonderful!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Advent...

I'm really into celebrating the season of Advent this year. Being raised Catholic, Advent was something I knew about, but we never really talked about it or did anything special. But this year, I'm starting to understand and embrace this season of anticipation and fun Christmasy-but-not-quite events.
We have started decorating our house a little bit at a time. I started yesterday with a variety of evergreen branches tucked behind pictures and over doorways. It looks really festive and homey. My plan is to decorate a little bit each night approaching Christmas.
At church Sunday, we made an Advent wreath and we light it each night at dinner and say a short Advent-related prayer. We also have an Advent calendar, 2 actually. One has a nativity scene and you place stickers on it each day with the last day being a sticker of Mary, Joseph and Jesus. I wish it had just Jesus as the last one, but oh well. We also have one that you open each day and get a piece of chocolate. The kids are taking turns each night putting the sticker on or getting the chocolate. I really want to make my own Advent calendar, but that's something to think about for next year. We have friends who are doing so many fun Advent events and I'm looking forward to when the kiddos are a little older and can try and grasp the concept a bit more. We're still planning lots of fun stuff though. I'll post things throughout the month. What are you doing to decorate/prepare/celebrate?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Snow Day!

Here are the pictures of our outside time yesterday. *A* loved it but had a complete meltdown after she came in and then took a nap at 10:30 am! Strange. (H) was happy though, he got her portion of hot chocolate! :)

::Before...warm and happy::

::Look out Mommy!::

::My hands are cold!::

::Let's make a snowman!::

::Snow slide!::

::Cold bottom!::

::After...piles of wet clothes, one asleep, and one enjoying cocoa!::

Monday, December 1, 2008

December = Snow!

I got my snow! This is what we woke up to this morning...

and big, juicy flakes are still coming down, yay! More pics later of wet, cold children playing. Happy snow day!

Friday, November 28, 2008


Well, the family has left, the fridge is overflowing, and the dogs and kids are exhausted. We are so very thankful this year for so much, and we had a wonderful Thanksgiving with our family (although we missed you Dad!). Yesterday was probably the most laid back I've ever been hosting Thanksgiving and I'm not really sure why. It was busy, and I was more in-charge than I've ever been without my Dad here being co-chef, but for some reason it was especially good. After dinner we convinced everyone to play a round of Cranium and it was hilarious. Today everyone came over for brunch and then we took a walk, the kids went fishing, we gave campus tours, and everyone hung out and helped finish off the pies. It was a relaxing, perfect family gathering (minus one) and we are so thankful for these past 2 days.

We're also very thankful for the next 2 days of relaxing with *our* little family. Tonight *A* and (H) gave a singing and dancing show while ^J^ played the ukulele. This weekend is our traditional time to start crafting Holiday presents so I'm especially looking forward to snuggling on the couch in front of the fire reading and knitting. My mom got the kids a Playmobil nativity set so they are totally engrossed with that right now. You should hear some of the stories coming out of our mini Bethlehem...tonight I heard Mary exclaim "Oh, no! I lost my hat (her veil had fallen off), Shepard will you get it for me?" and since we have hidden the baby Jesus until Christmas, there are all kinds of stories like this:
"Where is Jesus?"
"I don't know, let's go look for him!"

It's too perfect. Happy post-Thanksgiving weekend to you all!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Quickly now...

I'm trying to prepare the house for Thanksgiving so I can't write much although my mind is full of things to say. Maybe I'll have time for a breather later today or tomorrow. In the meantime, here are some pics from our weekend with friends.

Friday night we had our friends over who have a 6 year old and 4 year old. Here is the kids table...they insisted on all sitting on the same side. Such cheeseballs!

The next day they came over to play in the leaves and had a big time.
Sophie had fun too as you can see by the ample dirt on her nose.

Then on Sunday we all went to the children's museum in Chattanooga. We ended up splitting a season pass which turned out to be a great deal and now we can go anytime. O.k., I'm off to clean.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008 it me you're looking for?

I've been out of town, and out of ideas lately. Just uninspired I guess. But I came home from spouse night at the pub and ^J^ had cleaned the house, so now I'm feeling a lot better!

These past couple weeks have been really busy. Too busy actually. I need a break and I'm so excited about Thanksgiving coming up. We host turkey day traditionally and moving here will not change things. Our families come to us, and we have a great time. My favorite part about Thanksgiving though is the days following. I love the actual day and being with everyone; but when you host you are in the kitchen most of the time, and once it's time to eat, I'm not even really hungry anymore. But on that weekend following, I'm in heaven: there's a full fridge, the house is clean, I feel very crafty, and leftovers taste so much better.

Plus it's o.k. to start thinking about Christmas after Thanksgiving is over. I can not stand that the stores think Christmas starts after Halloween. I'm learning more about what it means to be an Episcopalian and "celebrating" Christmas these days, and it is very appealing to me to have Advent be a season of anticipation and waiting and excitement. I'm not yet sold on the idea of waiting until Christmas Eve to decorate...I like a little bit of something in my house to celebrate the season, but I'm excited to start holiday traditions like an Advent calendar and wreath and celebrating Saint Nicolas day. My favorite part of Christmas is the tree, so when I hear about people waiting to decorate their tree until Christmas Eve, I can't believe it. I understand why and all that, I just don't know...One thing we're going to try this year is to gradually decorate the tree throughout Advent and have it totally done by Christmas Eve. I think we'll have each of us put on one ornament every night, my question is where do I store all the ornaments in the meantime...Anywho, I'd love to hear any other Advent traditions and celebrations. Please share! Oh, and what about that big, red, fat guy...does anyone else think lying to your children about him is kinda weird...

Of course I still took them to see him this past weekend. It was the annual welcoming Santa weekend at the mall and our favorite quirky marching band from Little Five Points is always there blaring carols up and down the aisles gearing people up for Santa's big entrance.

They're a riot as you can see, and the drag queens never disappoint. Ya gotta love Atlanta.