What we did and when we did it. Sometimes.

What we did and when we did it. Sometimes. People, places and events to remember.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas Stay-cation

One of the advantages of working in academia is that your schedule is determined by the school calendar.  So technically, Emmett has almost a month off for Christmas!  This isn't exactly true, because he has research to do and classes to prepare, but he does have a lot of free time over the next few weeks.

We decided that he would not work the whole week of Christmas, so our family has been enjoying a stay-cation in the RGV.  Here is the itinerary:
  • Saturday ... backyard Nativity
  • Sunday ... nothing because the kids were feeling crummy
  • Monday ... Christmas Eve (fondue for dinner)
  • Tuesday ... Christmas
  • Wednesday ... ice skating and the Festival of Lights
  • Thursday ... Wreck It Ralph
  • Friday ... Chuck E. Cheese
  • Saturday ... taking down decorations and play time at home
  • Sunday ... church and the Bears game
  • and someday next week, the zoo!
Take a look at some photos from our week.  It should be pretty obvious that we have a new camera, and we're still figuring out how it works.  :)

Santa Ben and ice-skating Evan:

Somebody is starting to explore!  I love it.  

Checking out the new Chuck E. Cheese in town.  A certain big sister shared many of her tokens with her little brother.  She took him on the teacup (I think it was supposed to be hot chocolate - note the marshmallows), a safari boat, a carousel and down the slide. He thinks she's the coolest sister ever.

The big kids enjoyed tossing footballs.

Corrie has been helping Ben try out his new toy wagon.  It's safe to say that he likes it.

There has also been some more music about the house!  Corrie loves her Hello Kitty karaoke machine.  We need to get some CDs for it.  Any suggestions?
It has been a good week.  I have loved watching our kids enjoying each other.  It's nice to have everyone out of school - makes me look forward to summer, when we'll be able to hang out all the time.  I say that now ... we'll see how we all feel when summer arrives.  :)

Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Morning Picture Post

We had a nice, lazy Christmas with just the five of us.  Evan and Ben woke up at their normal early times, so I was up, too.  Emmett and Corrie managed to sleep until TEN.  We finally had to wake them!

While waiting, Ben had a snack:

What are you looking at, Mom?

Evidently, tissue paper tastes GOOD.

After Corrie and Emmett joined us, we got down to the serious business of opening gifts:

And saying thank you:

And trying things on:

With some ballet demonstrations:

And basketball demonstrations:

Some more trying on ... then some jumping around with cash ...

General happiness.

 And yet more trying on.

And still more opening of gifts.  

The kids had a blast.  Ben only managed to open a few of his in the morning - he preferred playing with the paper to actually opening the presents.  We "helped" him with a few, then took a break so he could play with those toys before opening the rest later in the afternoon.

We failed to get a good video or picture of Corrie when she was actually opening a gift.  She was the most fun to watch - shrieking with joy for each and every present.  

We made a yummy breakfast, then took it easy the rest of the day.  The kids watched Pokemon (thanks to Auntie Jen and Uncle Daniel) and Barbie's Princess and the Popstar (thanks to Auntie Arthi and Uncle Derek).  We didn't do any more cooking on Christmas.  We have a tradition of eating Hickory Farms cheese and sausages on Christmas because when Emmett was a kid, his uncle would always send a Hickory Farms assortment to their family.

At some point, we did Facetime with family in Hawaii, then those in Mississippi.

Later in the day, we invited another family over to watch the Barbie movie.  (They have two girls).  The adults played Settlers of Catan (and ate yummy desserts) while the kids all watched the movie and played.  It was a good day. 

We missed being with family - but it was nice to have a quiet Christmas at home.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Backyard Nativity

Recently, I realized that my kids were not going to be in any Nativity play or skit this year.  When I was a kid, our church did a kids' Christmas program every year ... and we went Christmas caroling ... and the choir did a Christmas cantata.  I loved all those fun activities!  And I learned about Christmas - the baby Jesus and all the details of his arrival.

So ... the weekend before Christmas ... I thought we could just invite some friends over to do our own Nativity play - no rehearsal, no preparations (who has time?), we would just wing it.  Ha!  In retrospect, I may have been a little ambitious.  We had seven families - 38 people - 12 adults and 16 children (from 3 weeks to 8 years old) come to our house for a backyard Nativity.  I typed up the Scriptures and selected some carols, then cut out some angel wings and kings' crowns from poster board.

God bless my wonderful, patient friends, who are willing to go along with my crazy ideas.  It was CHAOS.  But so fun!

Here are our sweet angels:

Here is our Mary, with her darling little one.  He was the perfect baby Jesus!  And here I am, either reading Scripture, singing a carol, or telling everybody what to do.  :)


 The wise men:

Some assembly required.  The wings and crowns needed work.  And one of the other moms brought a fun Christmas tree craft:

Here you see the angel making his announcement to the shepherds, and the wise men on their journey to find the newborn king:

The wise men and the shepherds arrive.

Everyone worships together.

Some questions you may be asking:

 (1) Why was Evan an angel?  Once I mentioned that we would be re-enacting the story of Jesus' birth, he kept asking to be the angel who gave the good news to the shepherds.  I think he wanted a speaking part!  Plus, he knows those verses - and he loves the song Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.

(2) Why does Corrie need a cuddle?  Poor Corrie wasn't feeling very well.  She started the day with lots of energy and enthusiasm, but crashed toward the end of the show. 

(3)  Where is sweet Ben?  Taking a nap!  He was supposed to be a sheep with his one year old buddy, Liam, but my sleeping beauty missed the whole play.  He woke up later for snacks.  :)

Overall, it was a fun night.  It was great to hang out with friends, and the kids enjoyed dressing up and acting.  I would do it again.  

I hope that by acting it out - by hearing and doing the words - the great story of Scripture will sink into my kids' hearts and my heart.  Christ's humility in being born a baby, in a stable - and also God's design and glorious plan - prophecy, angels, a star(!), royal gifts from wise men.  It is beautiful and amazing!  

Even when it's told in someone's backyard by kids wearing their dad's Tshirts, old blankets and poster board crowns.  :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Ways to Use a Cookie Cutter

 You can always make cookies:

With fancy icing:

Or you can make cinnamon and applesauce ornaments:

You can even make pancakes with cinnamon sugar and applesauce:

And feed the pancakes to happy, hungry children:

Then you can wrap up the cookies, and attach an ornament and a bow for therapists and teachers:

 All that baking would wear anybody out.  :)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A List: Christmas Activities

Here's what our family has been doing this month:

1.  Playing with our Nativity scenes (both plastic and ceramic):

2.  Having a special mommy/daughter date to see The Nutcracker (note Corrie's ballerina pose):

3.  Watching Corrie perform in her preschool Christmas program.

Mom Photographer Fail:  We weren't allowed to take pictures during the program, so I took one of Ben while we were waiting for it to start, and I got a quick photo of Corrie and Emmett in the parking lot after it was over.  That's it.

4.  Having a mommy/son date with Evan to see A Christmas Carol.

5.  Finding a lovely tree AND tree stand.

6.  Turning off all the downstairs lights and sitting by the tree for evening carols and prayer.

7.  Reading Christmas books.

8.  Singing Christmas carols in the car.

9.  Renting cheesy kids Christmas movies from Redbox.

10.  Making a fun handprint decoration.

We have not:
- baked any Christmas cookies
- driven around to see Christmas lights
- put UP any Christmas lights outside
- had any hot chocolate
- looked at our Advent calendar every day

Another recurring event this month:  I cannot for the life of me remember to make and bring snacks.  I sign up for things, and then- if I don't write it down - it doesn't happen.  I have so far forgotten the following items:  an "R" themed snack for Corrie's preschool, a veggie tray for the preschool Christmas lunch (that I purchased and left sitting at home on the kitchen counter), and a dessert for the ladies' dessert social at church.  I did remember to bring the cornbread dressing to our small group Christmas party, though.  :)

I am hopeful that we will get to some of the items in the "have not" category over the weekend.