Tuesday, December 30, 2008

We heart NYC


We finally did it! We took the children into the city today. Of course it was crazy busy there because of the holidays, but we still had a grand time. We drove in (amidst a lot of traffic) and visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I had no idea the museum was so vast! We visited the Egyptian rooms and the Arms and Armor rooms first. We figured Harris and Grace would be most interested in mummies and swords!

Before we went we read the book, "You Can't Take A Balloon Into The Metropolitan Museum of Art." It's a wordless picture book but tells a really fun story. Grace even spotted some of the art in the museum.

The children had their first sidewalk vendor hotdogs!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Goodbye Christmas


I love Christmas, but once it's over I'm ready to put everything away.  Up until Christmas day the decorations seem beautiful and magical and after that they just seem like clutter!  I know that sounds scroogey, but I've always felt this way.

I took down the tree tonight and once again am so thankful for my ornament boxes.  I found these boxes and really wanted them but agonized for a good many years before buying them.  You see they are kind of pricey for ornament storage.  I kept waiting for them to go on sale. They don't.  Ever.  
 
Putting the ornaments on the tree involved lots of unwrapping or wrapping up the ornaments in tissue paper.  It was time consuming, messy and not a lot of fun.  Two years ago I finally gave in and ordered a box.  I'm so glad I did.  Not only are my new boxes pretty, but they are heavy duty, archival, and they use shredded paper to protect the ornaments.  Now I simply place the ornaments in their compartment and feel secure in their safety.  I feel like our beloved ornaments are well taken care of.  

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Chanukah Party



Our friends and neighbors, Marci and John, hosted a party tonight in honor of the last night of Chanukah.  Grace and Harris were excited to go and help to light the candles and we were excited to go because we knew there would be great company and  delicious food!  We had a wonderful time and appreciated being able to participate in their holiday.

I'm sorry about the quality of the pictures, I can't seem to remember to turn on the flash! 

John and Marci

Hannah and John lighting the candles.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Anticipation

I worry about our children's generation and how they have so much at their fingertips all the time.  I'm sure that every generation of parents have worried about this (walking to school in the snow, uphill both ways, etc.) but it seems that as the world has gotten smaller and technology has made things easier we have lost something even as we have "gained" so much.  

I really love this article out of Cookie magazine.  As I read it I couldn't help but exclaim how true it all is!  I believe if you click on the article it will be big enough for you to read.  Let me know what you think!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Twas the night before Christmas...

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house...all the creatures were stirring even our Santa Mouse!

We ate a festive dinner of beef bourguignon, warm spinach salad and chocolate mousse.

We went to candlelight Christmas Eve service at church.

Once we were home, we put on our Christmas pajamas and read a few of our favorite Christmas stories including, "The Night Before Christmas."

We laid out cookies and milk for Santa, carrots for the reindeer and a chunk of cheese for Santa Mouse.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night!


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Homemade Christmas Part 2


Grace is so proud of her gift to Harris, and I am so proud of her for working on it so hard and diligently for the past three weeks. One of her favorite things to do at school is to write stories, so she decided to write a story book for Harris. She knew right away that she wanted it to be about pirates with Harris as the main character.

I printed out a story board for her to start with and that really helped her get the general flow of her story.

Once she was done with the storyboard we let her dictate the details to us and we typed them up. I feel like at this point it is more important for her to tell a story than it is for her to physically write the story. Once she had the story the way she wanted it she began to work on the illustrations. For the actual book we used a bare book which I always have on hand for when inspiration strikes (that's the teacher in me).

Here are a few of the pages from her book, The Story of Pirate Harris.







Monday, December 22, 2008

Homemade Christmas Part 1



This summer I saw a post from last Christmas on the blog Design Mom that was about having siblings make gifts for each other. I really love this idea because it encourages gift giving to be about making a thoughtful, loving gift. Therefore, we gave it a go this year and I am super pleased with the results.

I talked it over with each child at the beginning of December to get ideas about what they could make. After we came up with a plan we started working on the gifts.

Harris loves working with clay so he chose to make a mouse out of clay for Grace. I helped him a good bit with the putting of the pieces together, but he made the shapes and poked the holes for the eyes. We baked it and put a magnet on the back. He wanted to make another gift so he and Bryce made hand warmers out of pie weights for Grace. This project obviously required a lot more help from us but he picked out the material and color of thread and he helped to run the sewing machine. He's very proud of his gifts!

My boys at the sewing the machine

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Festive Merriment



We had a really fun and festive day today.  We had our good friends, Kristin, Tim, Grace and Matthew over for a Christmas breakfast.  They came dressed in their pajamas and we stayed in ours!  We had gingerbread waffles, candied bacon and a goat cheese egg strata.  We had a lovely time visiting and it felt like a great way to kick off the week of Christmas!  


Kristin and me

Tim and all the children (he's the dad that all the children love because he's just a lot of fun!)


This evening Bryce and I went on a Christmas date.  We've tried to do this every Christmas season.  We do some shopping and then eat dinner together.  Tonight felt really special because it was especially cold and there was snow on the ground.  To top it off, as we came out of the last store to head over to the restaurant, snowflakes started to fall!  

There were so many lights on this tree!

If you look really, really closely you can see a few snowflakes!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Christmas Story


Grace recently got an assignment in school to make a scrapbook of sorts about what she celebrates in the month of December.  This is a picture of her last page.  I was really touched that she chose "celebrating Jesus' birth" as her favorite part of Christmas (I promise, there was no prodding from Bryce and I!).  My hope is that we can keep that as the focus of Christmas for the children and ourselves.  It often seems like Christmas has become so consumer driven (I'm certainly guilty) that the reason we celebrate in the first place has become second to the merriment making.  We all love to give and receive gifts, but I hope that we can find the balance between the two.    

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Creche



When we were first married, Bryce's parents gave us a creche (nativity) and beautiful Fontanini figurines for it.  At the time I thought it was really nice and I always enjoyed putting it out, but as time has gone on I have really come to realize just how special it is.  

As I have mentioned before, I have a family that is talented in many areas.  Everyone seems to possess some neat and inspiring talent.  Al, Bryce's dad (he's lucky enough to have two!), made our creche by hand.  And if that weren't enough, the creche is made out of various materials that have significant meaning.  On the bottom, Marilyn recorded the origin of each part.  I love that the material to build the nativity came from family in several states and the creche came from a loved one's hand.  I can't think of a better place for our baby Jesus to rest during the Christmas season.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Snow


I love snow, if you have met my mother you understand that I come by this very naturally! We've had a mixture of snow and freezing rain today, but I will take what I can get. What is it about snow that makes everything prettier? Now if we could only order up some snow for Christmas Eve...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Fairy


I walked up to the playroom a few minutes ago and on the art easel I spotted this fairy that Grace drew. It makes me happy.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Dinner and Dancing

Last night I went out for dinner and some dancing with my girlfriends.  For the past three years we have gone out together to do a gift exchange and celebrate the season!  Bryce took a photo of Cathy, Sonja and I as we were leaving to meet up with the others.  I'm so thankful for having such good friends who are so supportive.  It's nice to know that they are with me on this journey through parenthood (the good , bad and ridiculous!).  

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sitting with Santa


Last weekend when we attended our town's Christmas tree lighting, the children also got to visit with Santa.  Harris was a bit shy at first, but then he started chatting with Santa and eventually moved on up to his lap.  Grace asked Santa for a woodland fairy house and a magnifying glass.   Harris asked for a car set and a t-ball.  

As you can see, I did not dress the children in their Christmas clothes which is what we always do when we visit Santa.  However, it was really cold outside and I just didn't think of that little detail (it was also the first time in a very long time that Grace wore pants!).  Oh well, I still love the picture!  

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Kitchen Wreath



This is my second favorite, new this year, Christmas decoration. I had these beautiful copper ornaments that I thought would be really pretty in the kitchen, but I didn't have enough to go on a tree by themselves. So I put them on a boxwood wreath over the range. I'm really happy with how it turned out.

P.S. Thanks Mom for helping!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Merry Mistle Toad Tree



We finished all of our Christmas decorating this past weekend. My two favorite decorations (other than the tree, of course) are new this year.

I've had a white tabletop tree for several years but have never really used it because nothing seems to look right on it. This year as we were unloading our ornaments I was once again amazed at how many frog ornaments we have for our tree. An idea was born and I couldn't be happier with the result. The tree is in our hallway outside of all of our bedrooms, and I love walking up the stairs and seeing the twinkling lights and festive frogs. I thought I'd share some of the frog ornaments.

This was the first ornament Bryce and I got together. My Mom gave them to us and she painted the red lips on the one! Can you see the resemblance?


I like to think that this is my frog alter ego!

My dear friend Patty gave me this ornament when I was taking adult ballet. She's a favorite.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

An Angel and two shepherds



Today was the Christmas Pageant at church.  The children of our church sing and act out the story every year.  This year (as in years past) Grace was an angel but this year she had a speaking part!  Harris and Bryce made their debut this year as shepherds.  All of the children did an inspiring job!  It's a really timely reminder of why Christmas is celebrated in the first place.



Saturday, December 6, 2008

Santa and Dinner

Last night our community had a Holiday Walk.  The town shuts off Main Street, all of the businesses open and there are games, stories, goodies and performances.  The event is kicked off with Santa arriving in a fire truck and lighting the town tree.  The children had a lot of fun (it was COLD) and got to sit in Santa's lap (I don't have the picture yet).  It's events like last night that make me so glad that we live here.

After the Holiday Walk, Bryce and I went to the home of our dear friends, Sonja and Ryan, for a dinner party.  It was a really great group of people and we had a great time spending the evening with such good friends.  My face actually hurt from laughing so much.  If that is not a sign of a good time I don't know what is!  

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Elf on the Shelf

Santa sent us an elf.


He's magic and he's going to be staying with us until December 24th.  Fortunately, he came with a story to tell us all about him.  The story explains that he comes to us at the beginning of the holidays and that he flies back to the North Pole every night and reports on our family to Santa Claus.  Every morning he arrives back at our house but in a new spot.  The children have had a great time finding him each morning.  We came up with names for him and voted for our favorite.  Grace's suggestion, Piper, was chosen.  


So far we have found Piper on the potfiller.......

sitting atop the dining room window....

and lounging on the clock in the foyer.

I wonder where he will be next?
 
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