Friday, December 16, 2011

Paige Sings At Church!

I've been waiting for this for 5 years.  Finally, the kids got to sing a couple songs at church.  Now, I really, REALLY wish it had been a Christmas program, but hey, I'm thrilled they got to experience sharing Jesus love with others through song in any capacity.  She was SOOOO excited and picked out her dress, told me how she wanted her hair, and then brought me a necklace to help her put on.  It was so precious.

The first video is Blessed Be and the second is Lord I Lift Your Name on High.  This is your warning, that they are pretty much family interest level videos.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

When you have kids....

You can't neglect things like putting up Christmas lights outside.  They will nag you every day until you put them up.  So up they went.  The girls wanted to help.  It wasn't exactly the warmest of days.  (That's what happens when you wait until mid December!)  The girls came in and out until I finally got the right mix of outerwear on them....snowpants, coat, scarf over their face, hat, mittons, and boots. 

"Lainey - Do NOT put them in your mouth!"

Still thinking about it!

Daddy was very patient with them helping!

Lainey's turn!

Then Lainey brought this up to show me.  You can tell it was pretty cold because this is still intact.
And another one!  I don't have an after picture, but they did a great job and it looks very pretty.  Paige was upset that night when we turned them on and they weren't different colored lights.  (We only had white on hand.)  We told her we would get some after Christmas, so next year it will be colorful!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A different look for Lainey!

It was bathtime at our house the other night.  The girls thought these "horns" were hysterical!

I've thought for a while that Lainey needed a trim.  I normally don't have a problem cutting hair, but with Alaina's curls I just wasn't sure how to go about it.  Well, it occurred to me that if I straightened it, it would be much easier.  So after her bath, I dried and straightened her hair.

She looked so strange to me and her hair was a lot longer in the back than I thought it was.  If her hair was always staight she would be sporting a pretty stylish mullet.  The front and sides of her hair, as you can see by the pictures, are still pretty short. 

I trimmed off the bottom 2 and 1/2 inches and it looks MUCH better.  It looks thicker and has more body.  I thought we would keep the straight hair for the next day, but she woke up with curls, so we embraced it.  I'm sure we'll do it again sometime soon!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Overheard in the van tonight

Alaina:  "I am the best!"
Paige: "No, I am the best!"
Alaina:  "I am the best EVER!"
Paige:  "No, I am the best EVER!"
Alaina:  "Well, I'm wearing new clothes!"

Wow!  (By the way, she was NOT wearing new clothes!)
And I'm not sure what the reference here is, but I am sure Alaina doesn't lack confidence.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Elf on the Shelf?

We have chosen to not "do" Santa with our girls.  Just like we don't "do" the tooth fairy or the Easter bunny.   And by not "doing" them, I mean that we are not going to help the girls believe they are real.  We still tell them the stories of these pretend characters and what other kids may believe they do, but for us that's where it ends.  Just as we don't foster the belief that Lightning McQueen is a real car, Curious George is a real monkey living with a man that always wears a yellow hat, and Ariel is a mermaid living in the sea,  nor will we let them believe that an elf that sits on a shelf is watching them and reporting their behavior back to Santa.  Why?  Well, there are many reasons.

1.  It's the truth.  Santa isn't real and we don't want to lie to our children.  We are teaching our children that the center of our family is God and we need to put our faith and trust in him, even if we can't physically see him.  We don't want them to grow up believing in made up characters only to find out they don't exist, then not trust us with the most important thing we've ever taught them to believe in....Jesus Christ.

2.  We don't want our children to think they need to be good to receive gifts.  Gifts are given out of unconditional love.  It is not at all based on behavior.  Our kids need to obey and honor and respect others because that's what God calls us to do, not because they may or may not get something in return.  We definitely don't deserve and can never be "good enough" for the greatest gift ever given....Jesus Christ.  All we have to do is accept this precious gift, just as my kids just have to accept their gifts at Christmas.  We also want them to know that it is their friends and family giving to them because we love them so much that we want them to have something picked out specially for them.

3.  Christmas isn't all about getting gifts.  We want our girls to learn about giving.  There is so much joy in giving to others.

Please understand that this is what we have decided for our family.  I am not judging yours.  And I am fully aware that kids can believe in Santa when they are little and still know God and love Jesus.  And if my kids want to sit on Santa's lap and read The Night Before Christmas, we'll let them.  Just like we let them play "princess" and "mommy".  They know they aren't really mommies or princesses.  It's okay for them to pretend and be imaginative.

So in the spirit of Christmas we are going to enjoy selecting gifts for loved ones.  We are going to enjoy being with friends and family.  We are going to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior.

I believe these will more than make up for a childhood devoid of an, "Elf on the Shelf".

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Tree Adventures!

Well, call me crazy, but this year I thought it would be fun to cut down a real tree with the girls.  I LOOOOVE the smell of a real tree and really wanted the girls (and selfeshly myself) to experience picking out and cutting down a Christmas tree.  I have always wanted to do this so this was my first time along with the girls. 
 The problem:  I had built this up this wonderful fantasy in my puny little mind of how we would find our perfect tree, with our perfect family, and it would be such a joyful occasion.  Reality:  We set out at 3pm with no naps to a destination unknown.  Can you see where this is going?!
Our first stop was a dud and 25 minutes north of our home!  I mean Not. Good. At. All.  It was cold.  The girls wanted to bring home every Charlie Brown Tree in the lot.  Not that I'm opposed to a less than perfect tree, but these were bad.  They were either too big to fit in our house or 4 feet tall......and spindly.  After traipsing the 5 acres Mark and I called it a bust and told the girls we were leaving.  As you can tell from the picture above, they were not happy.  They were tired of walking, cold, and cranky. 

But we were determined and headed to destination #2, 20 minutes south of our home.  Getting the picture, we had to drive 45 minutes.  We pulled in at 4:20pm.  They close at 5pm.  That gave us 40 minutes to find and cut down our "perfect" tree.  Not much time with lots of acres and 2 girls with little legs.  My fantasy was becoming less and less the joyful occasion I conjured up. 

Paige had to pee, but we were like 1/4 mile from the entrance and there were no potties.  She wouldn't even consider going outside, even though there were no people around and lots of what looked like cow poo, so I know it would have been fine.  So we had complaints of needing to pee, Alaina was tired, I was telling them we need to hurry.  It was so pleasant.  I, of course, can't just settle for the first nice tree we come to (even though it is the one we end up with), I have to search out the entire lot because a better one might be around the corner. 

But we did find one.  One that we all liked, even if it was pretty much dark and we had no time left anyway.

Mark set to work cutting it down.  I think the girls thought it was pretty cool to cut down our own tree.

FINALLY, we are ready to head home!  It may not have been a perfect or the way I had pictured it, but I think we did have fun and would do it again.  (Though maybe not every year.)

We decorated the tree the next evening.  Mark holding the girls so they could put the angel on.

The girls in front of the finished product!  I just love this time of year with the house all cozy and decorated!
Don't you wanna just sit down with a good book and a cup of coffee!

The girls sure love it!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


 We have so much to be thankful for this, friends, Mark's job, a wonderful church family, good health, a great Christian school for Paige, and so much more.  God has truly blessed our family with riches beyond money. 

It was our year this year to spend Thanksgiving with Mark's family.  His parents agreed to take the girls a few days before Thanksgiving to give Mark and I a little break and some time to celebrate our 8th Anniversary.  It worked out that Paige would only miss a half day of school, so they got to have special time alone with Grandpa and Grandma from Sunday until we got there Wednesday evening.  I know the girls had fun!  Thanks Grandpa and Grandma for giving Mark and I a break!
Mark took the girls up to them on Saturday (and stayed Sat. night) to have a Thanksgiving dinner with his Grammie in the nursing home.  (I stayed home for some much needed alone time.)  Here is the girls' Great Grammie watching them play dominos with Grandpa.
Grandpa with his 3 oldest Grandkids.

Uncle Mat, Aunt Myra holding Ariana, Alaina, Great Grammie with Skylar, and Paige.
As you can tell by the Sponge Bob float on TV, we have now arrived and it's Thanksgiving Day!  We brought Skylar a birthday gift, as he had just recently turned 2.
Alaina with 2 month old Ariana.  I was sporting a pretty nasty cold and didn't hold Ariana so I wouldn't pass it to her.  I was pretty sad about that!
Paige with Ariana, Uncle Mat, and Aunt Myra.
And the craziness begins!
The girls wrestling.
And jumping together.
Grandma "caught" Alaina, as Skylar isn't quite sure what to make of the mayhem.
Then decides he would like to join the fun after all.
I'm going to preface this pic with a little history.  Mark and I decided, pretty much as soon as the girls could walk, that when we wanted to rest while they were playing, the worst way to wake up is a surprise attack by the girls.  Usually it is a run and jump on you attack.  So instead, we implemented a "kiss to wake up" rule.  Now, if our eyes are closed and they want to wake us up they come up and give us a kiss on the cheek.  Much better! 

So then, Mark must have come up with a game they call "Wake the Sleeping Bear"!  Here Alaina is the sleeping bear.
Paige comes up and gives her a kiss.
And wakes the bear who starts chasing her.  (Mark is usually the sleeping bear.)
Paige's turn to be the bear.
Skylar with Grandpa.
Alaina hula hooping.  Paige actually mastered Hula Hooping while there.  She is quite good.  I don't have any still pictures of her, just video.
A rare smiling picture of Skylar.
The girls' first wishbone.  They were very intent.

What happened?

I've never seen a wishbone break like this.  They actually broke both the bones off at the exact same time.  Not sure what that means!