RSS Feed

A Meaningful Christmas

So, for many moons now, I’ve wanted to do some sort of advent countdown with the children that was more than just opening a door and retrieving candy. We try very, very hard to make sure that our children understand the real reason for the holiday. It isn’t about presents, Santa, or some creepy looking Elf hanging out on the shelf (someone will really have to explain that whole thing to me…I just don’t get it, lol! WHY would I create more work for myself with this thing?). It’s celebrating the birth of Christ, God becoming man, the covenant fulfilled, the birth of Light into a world of darkness. Our children know all of this, but I wanted a way to bring these truths to their hearts daily in a way that they were excited about.

A few months ago, I found A Meaningful Christmas. Its a 24 day devotional made specifically for children, starting with the creation of the world and ending with Christ. There is a symbolic ornament for each day to go with the devotional. Now, here is one of the best parts.

You chose 23 girlfriends.

You assign an ornament to each of them.

You have a party.

With 23 of your girlfriends.

(Did you get that? A party. With 23 friends. Joy.)

You all swap the ornaments you’ve created, meaning that you come home with a full set of ornaments to go along with your devotions!

Would you like to see them? (Of course you do.)

{Day 1-Day 5}

{Day 6-Day 10}

 

{Day 11-Day 18} I didn’t get a picture of Day 12

{Day 19-Day 24}

Aren’t these just fabulous? So, as I mentioned earlier, each day has a devotion focused on some part of the great story of the world. Each of the girls took that devotion and came up with an ornament to symbolize the truths taught in their particular day.

At our party, we had yummy treats.

Basically, it was like Thanksgiving all over again.

{minus anything remotely healthy. wait! i see broccoli! but i didn’t eat that. i think i ate a bell pepper strip, but i dunked it in ranch, therefore it doesn’t count.}

We took the time to have everyone explain why they chose the design they did, and had each person share one Christmas tradition that they already do in their families. It was awesome to hear some of the things everyone does, and I think we all got some really great ideas!

I could NOT have done it without these girls! I knew I wanted to do this, but there is no way I could have pulled this off myself. Best friends rock.

{Jeannie, Christine, Hitomi, Me, Sarita}

The only sad part about the evening is the fact that once you do it, you don’t get to repeat it! We all had such a wonderful time!

So, if you are interested in doing a party next year, check out A Meaningful Christmas by clicking {here}.

Fa la la la la, la la la la!

A Thanksgiving Feast

 

About a month ago, I saw a cute costume idea for Halloween. Indians, but with a different spin, made perfect for the 4 and under girl crowd.

I decided immediately that our Thanksgiving feast must include two little indians.

It was quite easy to pull off. Make a few tutus (took about 30 minutes), use leather fringe to create belts and armbands (not pictured), and use a leather strap and some feathers to create a simple headdress.

Add some braids and wah-la! Instant cute Indians to celebrate with! We had taken the whole week to learn about the real first Thanksgiving (or Harvest Feast as it was called) that took place in 1621. We read books and made suitcases for our voyage, made packing lists (Jackson included the iPad…shocker!), and wrote stories about what it would be like on the Mayflower. We wrote about what our days would be like around our village, and learned about the traditions and lifestyles of the Wampanoag tribe who kept the Pilgrims alive those first grim years. One of our favorite books was one of the Magic Treehouse books called “Thanksgiving Thursday”.

Our Thanksgiving Feast was loads of fun! It was a great celebration with mine and Greg’s family included, which was wonderful. My Dad and stepmom came up to Jan’s house, along with the Strachan’s (Greg’s brother and his family) and friends of Jan and Jerry. It was a lovely time…there is just something about a house full of people and food!

It really isn’t a holiday without a game of football in the street.

London loved playing “brown ball”. Funnily enough, neighbors noticed the two girls playing in the street and brought their families out to see the “little indians”, lol! They got lots of compliments on their attire!

This striking gentleman is just growing, growing, growing. I thought he looked taller; sure enough, I measured him and he’s grown over an inch in the past two months!

I love this picture. Nana’s piano has always been a place that the children love to go. I have memories of Jackson sitting there, banging on the keys when he was just a wee lad. All three of them together on that bench is just precious to me.

The day after Thanksgiving is spent decorating our house for Christmas, both inside and out. In the evening, we always have chili and cornbread, and then put up our Christmas tree. We pop popcorn and put on Elf.

We have favorite ornaments. The train was from the year we went to the Polar Express up north. We also have the bell that Santa gave Jackson (no, we don’t “do” Santa, but the kids know of him and the story) on a ribbon hanging from the tree. Every time we go to Disney we pick up an ornament, no matter the time of year. So far we have 3. I’m sure there will come a time when Mouse ears are easily spotted among the greenery. And, of course, we have our “Our First Christmas” ornament…one of the very first we’ve every received. It always has a center spot on our tree, and I love hanging it each year.

I can hardly believe that its all up again. This year has flown by. Sadly, this was the last time we will decorate this house for Christmas. A tad bittersweet, actually. When Christmas is over, we won’t just be packing up our holiday stuff, but our entire house.

I think I will relish in the calm before the storm.

So, onward with steaming cups of cocoa and twinkling lights.

If only the temperature would get below 80. πŸ™‚

Do You Smell That? {Kid Quote}

Mmmm…chocolate…

Scene: Brooklyn’s Room
Time: Morning

Me: Good morning, Brooklyn! *sniff* Oh, I think we need to change your pants before breakfast!
B: Nope. Me not poopy.
Me: It smells stinky. I think you are.
Brooklyn: *sniff* *sniff* Smells like chocolate!
Me: (laughing) No, it sure doesn’t smell like chocolate!
Brooklyn: *sniff* Yep! Chocolate!

The Election

Posted on

I’m thankful that I live in a country where we have election days.

I’m even more thankful that those days come to an end.

People just get so full of hate. Irrational arguments. Fallacies that make my head spin. My timing in leaving Facebook was superior; I didn’t see ANY of the mud last night that I know was being slung around. We don’t have cable, so we were spared the ridiculous ad campaigns that don’t change perspectives, but rather just further stoke the fire.

Instead, I got to see the election, one of the great things that makes our country different, from the eyes of my six year old.

It started a few weeks ago. Jackson started asking questions. Questions about voting and debates and the candidates. I explained it all to him, and explained what each candidate was for. I explained why we were backing our candidate. He decided to do the same. That night, he prayed for the maturity I wish most adults had: “God, please help us to respect whoever gets elected.” We had a conversation earlier in the day that God calls us to follow our government and obey the laws of the land and our leaders. He got it.

This week was election week, and we did all sorts of things! He created his own “If I were President” book, with his platform being “to stop people from painting on the walls” (I’m guessing this relates somehow to his sisters). He promised to work really hard, and illustrated it with a red faced man sweating, lol!

Then the big night came! I had printed out a map of the country and an electoral vote tracker, and he sat and watched the results come in. He was excited at first, and I thought he would do it for a few minutes and then move on.

Oh no, my friends. He sat, watching minute by minute coverage from 5:30-8:30! He asked me to bring him snacks and water! He did not move from that spot, and would give me updates on the states and popular vote count (the website we were following gave updates every single minute!). He would cheer when states would flip the color we wanted, and was so involved. Finally at 8:30 when Mama noticed him rubbing his eyes, I decided it was time to go. The electoral vote was tied…162 to 162. It was right before it switched to an Obama lead, and Jackson had been watching the states that were left closely. “Mom, I think Obama is going to win.” A little over an hour after he went to bed, the race was called.

I broke the news to him that his candidate lost last night when he woke up this morning.

“Oh.” He replied. “Well, at least he won Arizona!”. Now there’s the attitude, sport! Lol!

It was the most fun I’ve ever had on an election night. Watching him discover what its all about, rooting for a cause, and finally accepting defeat was a lesson to me. Sure, he didn’t understand all the causes and consequences of the decision that America made last night…but he was delighted in the freedom we had to make those choices. I found delight in it through him.

He begged to do it again in four more years.

I’m sure I will beg him to as well.

Happy Halloween!

Posted on

 

Confession: We don’t trick or treat.

At least, not until this year. It wasn’t really for any particular reason; I honestly just didn’t want to drag babies around street by street. London and Brooklyn would have needed a stroller, and Jackson wasn’t super interested, so we just hadn’t made the effort. We always went to a fall festival party that our friends threw a few days before and would call it good.

This year, however, we were invited over to my bestie’s house for dinner and trick-or-treating in her neighborhood, which sounded like a blast to me! She lives in an awesome little speck of Gilbert and going out in a pack seemed like so much more fun to me. So, that’s what we did and had a BLAST! I’m glad we waited until this year to do it; all the children could walk on their own and loved going up to the houses and were so polite. It was just so much fun!

Jackson was a tornado! This one took a little thinking on my part, lol! Basically, I got a foam wreath from Hobby Lobby, some black and gray tulle, and black ribbon. I wrapped the wreath with the black ribbon and then made a criss-cross pattern over the top of the wreath so it would balance on his shoulders. Then I hot glued the tulle to the top, and the wrapped and stapled, wrapped and stapled, and wrapped and stapled, making sure to use both the gray and the black! I then put a layer of tulle over the top of the funnel to keep it all together. Stick some sticks and glue some cars and wah-la! An EF 4.

Brooklyn was a ladybug! Nana bought the girls these adorable costumes from Cracker Barrel (who knew?) and the girls just loved them. What I love about them is that they were well made, so now they are in the dress up box!

London was an angel! She LOVED this costume! Most people thought she was a princess, but she’d show them the wings and insisted on angel, lol!

Right before we went out, we made the kids take pictures (there were 7 total!). One dad commented that it was like Prom. It sort of was!

So, most people knew what Jackson was, ESPECIALLY if they were from the Mid-west, lol! In fact, we went up to one house and the woman knew right away. She commented that she was from Kansas and that was probably the scariest costume she’d seen all night, lol! One kid thought Jackson was a burnt marshmallow, lol!

The dogs finally ruined it for London. I don’t know what it is, but some people just don’t get that dogs and kids don’t always mix, especially when these kids are dressed up. One dog got in London’s face and barked, and that was the end of it for her. “I not gonna take anymow chances wit those doggies!”, she said. I don’t blame her, lol! One dog was AWESOME though. He was a white dog and his owners had put black stripes on him to make him look like a jail-dog.

Brooklyn had no fear! She’d hold our hand on the sidewalk, but when we’d get to a house, she’d demand to be set free (“I do it myself!”) and would run up to the door with her tiny “Tick oh Tweets!”. She was so cute I almost cried. Towards the end I was her pack mule, hauling her candy as she plotted her course of action for the next house.

The kids had a blast, and so did we! I honestly can’t wait until next year, lol!

New House Progress

Posted on

 

 

 

We stopped by the house last night on our way to dinner to check up on its progress. We were blown away! Just a week or two ago just the framing was up, but now we have walls and a roof! All the plumbing has been wired, but not electrical. I was giddy! I just can’t believe how fast its going up.

This is a view from our great room looking into what will be the kitchen and breakfast nook (the nook is where you see the window). My sink looks out into the great room (it will be where you see all that plumbing), which I’m really looking forward to. I just love the layout of this house!

Jackson and London loved running through the rooms. This is Jackson’s room. I think the bedrooms are going to be the biggest space adjustment for us; our bedrooms now for the kids are h-u-g-e, and these are much, much smaller.

London checking out the lack of view from her window. πŸ˜‰ The girls will share this room, and it will be quite the adventure. London is super thrilled to start sleeping with Brooklyn!

This is the view from standing in the kitchen looking out into the great room. Such a wide, open space. We are losing 700 sq ft by moving into this house, but the layout keeps it from feeling that way. Most of the footage we lost was in the stairs (praise the LORD!), the bedrooms, and the loft that we currently have but don’t use. So, really, we will only feel the sting in the bedrooms.

Still to early to hang a “M” and a welcome mat, but here is our front entrance!

There are currently 3 homes occupied on our street, and about 7 going up around us…a few ahead of us and a few that have just been started. I’m hoping that most are almost finished by the time we move in so we can avoid most of the construction hassles (and the port-a-potty that is located right in front of my house, lol!).

We were originally told that we would have an early February move in, but Cachet recently finished a different housing project and moved all their crews to this one, so things are going up really fast. We should get a call for a walkthrough soon, and then an email/call with our anticipated close date. I can’t wait for that date to come in so we have a better idea of timing for our current house. We have so many projects to do, and at the most we have 12-14 weekends to do them (some of those being holiday weekends, which means nothing gets done)!

Which means I should get started. Off to pack a box or two! πŸ˜‰

Remember me?

Posted on

It’s true. I’ve been absent.

I’ve been lazy about taking pictures and writing blogs.

And, honestly, I’ve been sucked into a few shows. Who watches Parenthood? I swear I’ve bawled cried at every episode. I just finished all three seasons on Netflix. #sogood.

Of course, that show has also created a maniacal mild urge to have a 4th child, simply because it looks awesome to have 4 grown up children.

Raising 4 baby children is a different story, however. That’s what I keep reminding myself of, anyway.

I digress.

Oh, also in the news…stupid iOS 6 wiped my iPhone clean. I lost everything, including all the pictures I had ever taken on it. I have no idea if I backed up to iCloud, because I can’t find them. So, I only have a few pictures to share with you in my ultimate catch-up post.

School is going…okay. We’ve hit the October slump, and thankfully last week was Fall break so we got a week off. I’m really hitting writing hard this year with Jackson, and since he DETESTS writing, he now hates school. I keep reminding him of all the stuff he is good at (like Math…he just took his Unit test that covered six weeks of multiplication and he got every single question correct!), but he gets frustrated so easily. Luckily we have some fun units coming up with Halloween {a holiday I despise, but it works well with adjectives, lol!} and the election.

Here are some of the fun units we are doing:

I found this fun little unit on tPt by Jessica Travis.

Cara Carroll is like, my favorite blogger ever. She has so many great ideas, including this one. This unit uses the books Duck for President. Grace for President, and My Teacher for President. I’m really excited to get started on it!

These fun little activities will work perfectly in Election week to use as a part of our Daily Five routine, especially writing and word work.

The house is coming along fast! We were there 2 weeks ago and the foundation hadn’t even been laid, and as of this morning most of the framing was up! Our roof is currently in a pile at the front. πŸ™‚ Seeing it UP was awesome! This weekend we did a lot around our current home, like cleaning out the attic, garage, and having a garage sale to start the major purge of junk we have accumulated over the past 3 years. We are having to downsize quite a bit, so we have sold off a lot of furniture. We still have more to get rid of!

Fall is finally starting to show its face around here. Its now cool enough in the mornings to head over to the playground for some activity time. I was so bummed; a few weeks ago I found out that the soccer league that Jackson was on last year isn’t running this year, so no fall soccer for us! I can’t wait to get out of podunkville and move to where the city actually provides youth leagues!

Major news: Jackson lost his first tooth! I had a picture on my phone, but…arrgh. But, its precious. And creepy. For example, the adult tooth is growing in, which is fine. However, the tooth NEXT to it hasn’t fallen out yet, and THAT adult tooth is growing in, too…right behind his baby tooth! Frightening, really. I’m tried really hard to not get all crazy and worry about the fact that a tooth is growing out of the middle of my son’s mouth. People have been telling me that it happens and when his baby tooth falls out, the adult tooth will just move into place. Fingers. crossed. Perhaps I’m a bit paranoid since I sported a mad, ugly smile for most of my life and would never wish that shame on my children. I think I’m hyper sensitive, lol! Regardless, orthodontics are in his future. I didn’t get braces until I was 26. I had to live with this:

Horrified? Me too. Thankfully, Snaggles has been tamed and everyone is in their proper place after 2.5 years of Invisalign and my obsession with my retainers.Β {on a side note…precious baby Jackson!!!}

Now:

All that to say: my kids will have braces. For. sure. {precious baby Brooklyn!}

Β AND that’s it. I think. I’ve tried some fabulous recipes lately that I want to share, but I’ll save that for another time…mostly because nap time is almost over and I need to close my eyes and breath for a few minutes before the madness starts again. 5 hours until bedtime… πŸ˜‰

Toodles!