Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Came to Town

Santa Baby!
Isabelle with her American Girl Doll "Kit" from Grandma Barb and Grandpa Al.

Dreams came true when the kids opened the very special gifts from Santa, their very much wished for Nintendo DS's. Here Ben is showing Noah how it works. hehe

Ben could barely speak or breathe when he found this amazing gift on our front Porch on Christmas Eve. It is a drivable monster truck (with a real radio) from Grandpa Paul, Celia, Mary & Margaret. He has always wanted one, "his whole entire life!"

Christmas has come and gone this year without much stress, but with much JOY. Seriously, whatever I did not get done, I accepted and moved on the best I could, I relaxed and I planned but was also flexible and calm. It wasn't easy, it took constant intention. Things of course were far from Norman Rockwell perfect (ex: Isabelle throwing up all the way down the hall last night or Ben crying in church because we wouldn't let him eat his candy cane) But they were our moments. I truly enjoyed these dancing fleeting moments to their fullest these last few days, from my Snowy Peaceful walk in the woods with Lancelot (which whom I have a love/hate relationship) to getting woken up shortly past 5a.m. by an excited Isabelle seeing that Santa came! Wrapping paper flying everywhere revealing such grand gifts, too many baked goods and treats to be had. Magical and Beautiful for the most part. I loved walking out of the Church after mass on Christmas Eve to see the snow falling into a winter wonderland all around us. I realize how very blessed we are in so many ways by the amazing friends and family God has put into our lives. Much more to say, but have to go for now. May you be and feel surrounded by Hope & Peace & LoVe. It's a Wonderful life.

Christmas Eve

Silly Siblings on Christmas Eve
- Isabelle the Angel, Olivia the Baby Jesus and Ben the Shepherd.
"The Best thing to hold onto in life is each other" - Audrey Hepburn

Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of man.
-Rabindranath Tagore
How Ben makes Christmas Cookies: With lots of sprinkles and taste testing.

Spindleshakes our other Elf that comes right around Christmas time, always leaves a surprise gift for the Children. This time the gift was some very special (and warm might I add) hats! Thanks Spindleshakes!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

(Olivia preparing for her role as Baby Jesus)
Wishing everyone a very happy, healthy, safe, magical and blessed Christmas!
Much more pics & updates to come after Santa leaves town...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Table Manners

o.k., so unappropriate, but it was fun! Isabelle and Ben love the scene from A Christmas Story in which Ralphy's little brother Randy eats his meatloaf like a piggy. Well, tonight I let the kids get a little silly. Warning: This is not the most pleasant of productions.

video

Snowy Salute

Can't believe Christmas is a few days away. This is stuff I have in a basket on my coffee table. I rarely ever drink coffee at my coffee table.
I really enjoy watching our wildlife in the winter snow! Nature in a White Wonderland.

Lancelot enjoying the snow as well.

Ben helping make the dough for our sugar cookies (dough in freezer, no cookies made as of yet, I was way too tired after a long day.).
Although, I did make Toffee for the first time today! Easy peasy and good to boot. I may do something competley unheard of and skip the tradition of peanut butter balls this year. Today we also made some cinnamon/applesauce ornaments (those are the brown things with the glitter on the table). They take 24 hours to dry so tomorrow we will put ribbons on them and finish them off.
One day last week I decided to get all Martha Stewarty and I attempted to make a door wreath from our leftover tree limbs. Well, now I understand why people just go to the store and purchase such decor. A thousand pine needles all over my bathtub, and an aching back later, my wonderous creation was complete (as seen above) and yultiding for all to view with pleasure. I pulled the bow off of an old fake wreath I had and I also used the wire frame from that one and just added new twisty wire and fresh cut tree limbs. Well guess what, these pine limbs are not all that easy to bend into an amazing and beautiful shape to deck the hall. So anyway, I think I will leave future wreath making to the masters and marthas of the world.
In other news:
I am starting to regret/dislike/disagree with my haircut. Speaking of haircuts - Noah says the haircut that I gave Ben makes him look like a little Hitler. (This is also something I normally leave to the masters, but didnt have time to get him to a cuttery yet the hair over his ears and neck were almost braid-able so I took my chances. Once in a great while, I let the kids eat like little piggies (like Ralphys little brother randy in A Christmas Story). Since we were eating meatloaf tonight and the kids weren't really eating it...I let tonight be one of those rare nights (since they asked and all and I alraedy had a huge mess to clean up). So anyway they had a blast and I recorded it, I may post the video here if it's short enough. Last week my car slid a few times at stops and I slipped and fell on my back on the ice...so I promplty announced at that I was so done with winter...yet it's still here so I am trying to take pleasure in the season as best as possible by accepting it and knowing there is beauty and purpose for ice welding my car door shut. School was cancelled for today due to weather so the kids are offically on break and I must say I am thrilled. I need a break from the school routine. Not that I sleep in, but at least I dont have to rush out the door. I need to get Olivia a stocking. I am just using an extra one we have, but it's not quite her. I think I am pretty ready for Christmas for the most part. Noah and I are discussing/planning the meals for Christmas Eve and Day. I think we should just make a mystery meal. Each course a delightful surprise to the culinary palet. Or we could just open a bag of chips. The most fantastic part of my day was that I stayed in my pajamas. O.k., I have probably rambled beyond enough. I wonder where Flick will wind up by morning time.

Oh, Deer - Mt. Rushmore

Noah and I flew away for the weekend leaving the children behind with family. It was a mini getaway with a work related Christmas celebration. We got to stay at a wonderful and private resort. In the mornings we were greeted by coffee, turkeys and deer. The evenings were closed with fireplaces, wine and friendly conversations. One thing that I didn't expect to really be a big deal until I was upon it was visiting Mt. Rushmore. I must be honest, it wasn't something I really thought too much into in the past. But I must say that this American Monument is Amazing and Inspiring. Seeing it in person and also learning all the behind the scenes facts was truly grand. I am so glad that I had this opportunity. Also, flying back to Chicago at night time with all the Christmas lights was a beautiful sight. Bonus: It was so nice not to do dishes and laundry for a few days.
This is the view from our room balcony. We could actually see George from there.

This is what you see walking up to the mountain. Flags and posts from all the states.

It was such a great visit because the air was cold but not freezing and there were some people there but not crowded. The best part was that the book store was open (hehe). FYI - thoughts off of the top of my head: It took approx. 14 years for this Art to be created. 90 percent was done by dynamite. The rest (the details) were carved and chistled by many workers. The creator died before the project was complete and his son finished his fathers dream.

This is a moutain goat that we drove by while exiting the parking area. We just stared at each
other for awhile then he resumed eating the earth and we continued on our journey.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thur. a.m. musings.

My Happy Olivia at the preschool performance this week. Yes, my baby lives in pajamas pretty much. Actually, I am quite jealous. Warm & Easy attire for her these days.
Here is a nighttime glimpse of our tree all decorated. This guy sure drinks alot of water.

Here are the kids earlier this week, waking up to Isabelle's finds of her most recent tooth fairy visit. Ben has woken up seconds before this picture, which may explain his look. (Sally - Ben still sleeps with his blanky cow every single night!...and naps...and car rides.. anytime really! hehe)
Thanks to Alton Brown, I now know how to make the perfect cup of coffee at home. I cut Ben's hair last night , I must say it did not turn out bad at all. It still needs a real cut, but for now it will do. hehe. Ben just got up as a matter of fact and told me he loves me and then said good morning to Flick who is sitting on top of the refridgerator. Will I ever get to my craft/art room this season or get to make our families famous Peanut Butter Balls? I hope so. Today will be a day of packing. Packing the kids to stay with family, and packing Noah and I for our trip to South Dakota. Please keep us all in your prayers for health and safety in these upcoming days. Why don't the dishes every go away? When they are piled up like they are this morning (because I was too cold and tired to do them last night), I remind myself how thankful that I am that I have a wonderful crazy clan of people to do them for....but I should really invest in more paper plates. So, I made something called: Lazy Lasagna this week. It turned out o.k. I don't think I will make it again. I hope it didn't snow too much out there, I see the roads/car are white again. After the day I had yesterday, I am so done with this winter (car sliding a few times, and me slipping on the ice as well. Thankful I wasn't holding Olivia). O.k., Isabelle just got up and threw up...looks like there will be no school for her today...

Ben the Performer.

video

Here is my very tired Ben performing in his preschool program. Before we left to be there for the evening, I asked him if he is going to be the Star of the show? and he replied, NO! I am not a star, I am the donkey!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ben The Donkey / Horse

There is nothing more precious then Preschool Christmas Program at School. I so look forward to this event knowing that I will laugh and cry every time. This year Ben played the part of The Donkey...but we only had a horse costume so it worked! hehe. This year the show was in the evening (It is usually a day time ritual), so Ben was pretty exhausted by showtime. But, when he got his bells, he sang his heart out. As usual all the adorable children were a pure delight in every single way. The performance started out with the Angel Gabriel announcing that he had to go to the bathroom and it ended with one of the wise men crying because he didn't get bells to shake and these are the wonderful gems that make it what it is! I always feel so blessed to witness these children during this magical time.

In other news: Isabelle lost another tooth! A bottom one this time. (She sure is keeping the tooth fairy busy). Our tree is up and most of the decorations are as well. I absoutley love how the kids decorate the tree. They put like 15 ornaments on one branch. Can there be too many ornaments on a single tree I wonder? I love that Isabelle plays pretend with the ornaments like I used to when I was a little girl. An imaginary Christmas world within the tree. The kids fought while they set up the Nativity Scene (but, then they played nice with it). I love that they get so excited about opening the boxes of decorations and that they remember things from the previous years. the Kids can't wait to see where Flick the Elf is every morning. This morning, I spotted him sitting in the top of the tree. He must be happy that we finally have one! Gingerbreadmen marshmellows are actually not bad. Bought some for our hot chocolate. The weather outside is frightful. We have got no baking or crafting done yet this season. I hope to really focus on that next week. The time is flying by like a reindeer. This week is chalked full of events and Noah and I are flying to South Dakota this weekend for a business/work party. I don't even know if I have a suitcase. I better start getting my act together. While we are away, the children's palet will be filled with lots of fun holiday stuff including being with misc. family. I am praying for safety, health and goodness for us all. I have NO clue what to make for dinner tonight.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

December is a Blizzard

Olivia the Happy Reindeer! Isabelle was thrilled to lose a much anticipated loose tooth. The best part, it happened in school! She could not have been more thrilled! That evening the tooth fairy made a visit (gum and a dollar wrapped in a pretty sparkly ribbon).

This week was Isabelle's Christmas program at school. Before we went to the event, we went out for pizza and just happened to run into her classmate: Madison. (non of my pictures from the program turned out because it was too dark).

Our Tree! Our Tree! We finally got our tree! Noah and Ben went to go pick it out. This year we went with the grocery store selection since a storm was brewing outside. Maybe next year, we will make it to the chopping woods. (we haven't done that in a while). So it is now Sunday morning and I am not sure what the day holds due to this blizzard. I don't know if its possible to go to church. We plan on doing our decorating today among some other things. Noah is going to make biscquits and gravy for breakfast and steaks for dinner. I am not feeling well but am trying to fight off whatever bug I may have because there is way too much to do. ugh. Tomorrow night is Ben's Christmas program at school and the week unfolds busily from there. Last week we received wonderful packages in the mail including one with brandnew winter coats for the kids! (thank you Grandma & Grandpa). Christmas cards are starting to trickle in, how exciting! On this last Friday, I got my hair all cut off. I needed a change and I feel good about it. It's a little shorter than I wanted, but I suspect it will grow. I love watching the birds in the snow. I think the neatest thing is when you have like 5 different type of birds all at the same feeder. pretty neat (I know that I am a nerd). I am getting excited about the Christmas Eve Program at Church, as far as I know: Olivia is still going to be playing the part of : Baby Jesus, Isabelle will be an Angel and Ben will be a Shepherd. Just in case you are wonderfing my very favorite Christmas song of all time is: O' Holy Night. My favorite movie is: The Christmas Story (with Ralphy) , Noah's favorite movie is: It's a Wonderful Life. The kids, love them ALL as well they should. I don't think I have a stocking for Olivia. Although it seems like an overwhelming task (especially cuz I am feeling ill), I really can't wait to open the decorations and recall our Christmas's past and anticipate this season as well! I am thankful I bought boots this year (last year, I skipped them and regretted it every day). Happy Sunday!

Meet FLICK! Our Elf on the Shelf!

This is the amazing & magical: FLICK
We have decided to adopt an ELF in our family this season. He needed a special name so after 1000 suggestions back and forth the children decided on : Flick. Flick has a very special job. He watches the children's behavior for Santa and reports back to him at the North Pole (he flies if you are wondering) every night in December. Then in the morning when the kids wake up, he is always in a new spot! The number one rule with Flick is that the children cannot touch him or he will lose his magic. The children are encouraged to talk to him , share secrets with him and sing to him (they have also been telling on eachother to him). When Christmas Day finally arrives, Flick will be gone to the North Pole with Santa (I think he hitches a ride on his Sleigh while Santa is here making his stop)....So we will say goodbye to Flick on Christmas Eve and hope to see him next year!

Monday, December 06, 2010

Let it Snow.

The kids spent most of Saturday - S L E D D I N G ! !
Update Coming Soon.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Morning Coffee

I have no pictures to go along with this post. I really have no purpose of much to say. I just had a few quiet moments as the circus is still at bay so I thought I would say hello. I just opened my curtains to some lite drifting snow, very beautiful. Every morning, I look forward to : Coffee. Today I drink: Chocked Full of Nuts with HazelNut (theme going on here?) creamer in my Alice In Wonderland cup. I even snuck a shower in, so this might be a decent day. I finally whipped out my winter gear yesterday as the snow began. I do think I will find myself a new hat though. I love my Apacha wool hat, but it is itchy and the dog always wants to smell my head, so I might go another route to keep my noggin warm. Today the kids will pop out of bed no doubt and ask if they can have their first piece of chocolate from the advent calendars. They have been asking to start them everyday since I bought them a week ago. Today, I can say: Yes. Reminds me, I still have to throw away the remaining Halloween candy so they stop asking for that. It looks cold out there, I am thankful for the nice heat in our home and warm slippers on my feet. I know I will be doing a lot of snowbrushing, windshield scrapping this season...but for now I am warm. hehe. Isabelle has Brownie Girl Scouts today, I may be making meatloaf for dinner (feeling uncreative), I have a endless to do list today...my goal is to accomplish at least 3 things on it. O.K., the boy child is up...let the show begin!