Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The phone

Hey there, what's up?

Me? Yeah, I'm just hanging out at home.

I just had to tell you the news.
I have discovered the phone.
I KNOW! This is the greatest invention ever!

Yeah, my mom keeps trying to take it away from me, but I just keep running and hiding behind the Christmas tree and trying to call China. Those buttons are so. much. fun!

I know, I know, I should listen to my Mommy ...

... but this girl just wants to have FUN!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Up to my eyeballs ...

... in Christmas "stuff". Like everyone else out there. And therefore - not much blogging.

This week is busy with wrapping gifts, baking, cooking, last-minute shopping, and getting prepared to make the trek to Buffalo, NY on the day after Christmas. (Notice cleaning is not on this list? Yeah, given up on that one.) Oh, I am also trying to get enough sleep but Chloe is not helping with that one.

So I am just posting a few highlights of the past few weeks here....

First up - Our small group Christmas white elephant gift exchange. Always a hoot!

This is our friend Chad modeling the awesome sweater he scored ... can you believe this classic? Me neither.

Katie & Eric as well as Patti & Erik (with a "K") and their brand new little baby boy Sam. He is the one hiding under the blanket :)

Next up: Carter's Christmas concert at preschool.

I took this picture of him before he went to school.
Good thing, because there was no way I could get a picture of him during the concert... the insane parent paparazzi made it pretty hard to get a clear shot.
But we did get video at least.

And here is a little video of Carter singing one of his Christmas songs at home:

video
(...and please excuse the crying baby at the end of the clip. That's just ambient noise in our house!)

Next up: Neighborhood book exchange/Christmas party

My neighbor Kelly hosted and even threw in a few games like this "Pin the Nose on the Snowman" game. We all think she is a saint because no one else is nice enough to host 18 children in their homes!

Chloe didn't participate in any of the games.
She was too busy texting her friends that there was a cool party and they should get there ASAP.

This picture is just because it turned out so nice.
Doesn't Audrey look so grown up?
We're going to blink and instead of holding her on his lap, he'll be walking her down the aisle for her wedding.

Okay, enough for now. I'm off to wrap up some stocking stuffers!

And if I don't get a chance to blog again before Christmas-
Have a very Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Tea for three

This afternoon my Mom took me out to a North Pole Tea! Yup, just me ... and no kids. Don't want to make it sound like I don't enjoy my kids, because I do - but I have to say - it was a nice little break.


We also invited along my friend Melissa. Melissa and I have known each other since 8th grade (when she was still Missy and not the distinguished Melissa!) and have shared so much together in life. We lived around the corner from each other and spent countless hours during our teen years listening to music (on cassette tapes), writing notes to each other (on old fashioned paper instead of text messages), and giggling about everything under the sun. We were roommates in college and she was my maid of honor in my wedding. So it was so much fun to all go out together ... she is kind of like part of our family at this point.

Melissa and I with the man in the red suit

It was all cute and delicious.

We had a great time! Thanks again Mom!

Friday, December 10, 2010

3 little monkeys jumping on the bed


This is the way the older 2 like to greet their little sister these days ... by jumping in her bed with her and acting silly!

(Sure hope the crib doesn't break!!)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thank you Mom & Dad

... for the lovely noisy Christmas toys. The kids love them!

But hopefully they will not sustain brain damage from all the head shaking goin' on:

video


... and hopefully I will not lose my mind as I listen to ALL OF THEM PLAYING AT ONCE!!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The many faces of Chloe

Someone has discovered the camera. And has decided that making faces is great fun!






I just snapped away as she continued to make crazy smiles!
Silly girl. :)

Advent Prayer

This was given to me yesterday at my women's Bible study. I share it because it gave me much to reflect on and ponder, and I think it is a message we would all do well to remember.

ADVENT PRAYER

"May my great aim, Lord, this Advent be to bring happiness to You, through the giving of myself - my time, my plans - for you to use as you see fit. My gift to you must take precedence over my gifts to my family and friends. For it is your birthday, Lord - not the children's, not friends' - but yours. Part of my gift to you must include my response to those lonely souls whom the world passes by: those whose need is so great that they cannot repay me; those whom I know but have never felt attracted to, and criticized. Forgive me, Lord.

So the spring cleaning of my spiritual house will take precedence over our physical home; the nourishment of our souls comes before the Christmas dinner; the beauty of loving hearts in harmony be more important to me than an array of tinsel and colored lights. And good, in-filling times alone with you must happen alongside good, outpouring times with friends and family. Help me Lord to get my priorities right so that the busy burden of this time may be turned into blessing.

May an awareness of your presence fill my every waking hour so that far from being squeezed out, you may come with me into my days, as my guide. For you are the only one who can help me find those surprising, secret springs of Christmas joy that you planted for us amongst the responsibilities, temptations, and heartaches of our world."


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Visit with Santa

Audrey, 7
Carter, almost 4
Chloe, 16 months

Last week my Mom & I took the kids to visit Santa. As you can see, one family member was less than thrilled about the man in the red suit ... but trust me, we didn't leave her on his lap for long. :) I usually take the kids in the few days before Thanksgiving - it's a little early but it makes for a quick trip and no lines, and they usually have off from school anyhow.

I know people have different opinions about telling their kids about Santa, but for us it is just for fun. Actually, I have never made a big deal out of Santa ... but Audrey kind of picked up the ball and ran with it at an early age. The kids have such fun with it all that I really don't want to burst their bubble, but it is only a matter of time for Audrey. The other day she came home from school and told me that some boy on the bus said that Santa was just a man in the suit - and she said (and I quote) "everyone on the bus went {gasp}!!" (I personally thought it was funny that the whole bus was appalled by what he said.)

Anyhow, we usually leave cookies for Santa, put reindeer food out on the lawn, and he leaves a couple favorite presents for the kids. Honestly, I think Audrey WANTS to believe in Santa because she is a sharp cookie and there have been many instances where she would have reason to doubt. I don't remember ever really believing in Santa as a child ... but I would pretend to believe because I loved all the traditions surrounding him.

This weekend we took out the Christmas stuff and I found these photos from the past few years. It is so fun to see how our family has changed, and how the kids in particular have grown. The pictures start with Audrey at age 3. (I know I have some pictures of Audrey earlier on but I can't find them at the moment.)

Audrey, age 3
(and I was almost 8 months pregnant with Carter)

Audrey, age 4 & Carter, age 11 months

Audrey, 5 & Carter, almost 2

Audrey, 6
Carter, almost 3
Chloe 5 months
And Mommy, age 37
(Only way I could get Carter to be in the picture this year was to have him on my lap!)

The Santa is the same man in each picture!! (And my Mom & I say he is the "real" Santa, because - geez, doesn't he look authentic to you??)

Hope you are enjoying this holiday season!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Wii did it

Yup, we got us a Wii.

It all started with Audrey asking for a DSi for Christmas. Which we really didn't want to buy her (for a variety of reasons). I said to Chad "If we're going to spend that much money, I'd rather spend a little more and get a Wii that the whole family could enjoy."

Which led to Chad having a discussion with his co-worker about buying Christmas presents.

Which led to her saying they had a Wii that they really didn't use, and she would bring it to work for us to "try it out."

Which led to just bringing it home to try it. (Which is kind of like bringing home a kitten to see if you really want to keep it ... which is why we now have a cat ...)

Which led to the kids having a ton of fun with it. (Okay, the grown-ups were having a lot of fun too ...)

And now we have a Wii. So if you're looking for Christmas present ideas? Well, we don't have too many games yet... and bowling is getting a little old ;)

Yeah, notice the coffee table pushed in front of the TV? That's because the kids whip those remotes around so close to the TV that one day there is going to be an accident of gigantic proportions if there isn't a blockade!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving

Our completed Thanksgiving tree - filled with so many things to be thankful for!

The whole Thanksgiving gang at my parents' house

Chloe eating her first Thanksgiving dinner - her favorites are mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce!

Daddy and his girls

Carter being a goofball ... which is his favorite thing to do these days.
Which is why we had to have a review session about appropriate table behavior before arriving at Pop-pop & Mom-mom's house ...

My parents gave the kids this musical snowglobe. It was a huge hit with the kids ... but I have a feeling I will want to hide it in a closet in about 2 days... :)

Giggly girls

Daddy giving all 3 kids a pony ride.

It was a special day. I was especially thankful that my lifelong friend Melissa could join us.

And Mom, the food was truly yummy, even if you didn't think it was all that stellar! ;)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Reminiscing

Today I was looking through a bunch of old photos on the computer. I happened upon these gems, taken during a vacation to Florida in May of 2006. Audrey was only 2 1/2 and I was newly pregnant with Carter.

Ahh, sweet memories. :)





Carter saw a few of these photos and asked where he was. Hard to explain to him that he was not born yet!

And ... hard to believe that in a little over a year, Chloe will be at this same age. Boy have things changed around here since then!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Thank you Shutterfly

So folks, you know how I am always game for a good deal?

Well here is a GREAT one! (Especially if you are a blogger ... take note!) Stay with me now as I digress for a moment....

Once again, Christmas is rolling around faster than a freight train at night. And for many of us that means thinking about Christmas cards among other things.

I've been taking a look around Shutterfly's website for some inspiration. They have some great cards this year.

I really like this one: http://www.shutterfly.com/cards-stationery/cards-stationery/sweet-holly-story-christmas-5x7-folded-card?fg=256&sortType=1&storeNode=93476&fe=1

I like how the cover photo is really prominent and I like the simple scalloped frame design a lot, but what I REALLY like about this card is that inside the card there is a little spot for a picture of each family member and a few lines where you could write a little "year-in-review" summary about that person. (Kind of like putting the "Christmas letter" into the card itself. No more pieces of paper falling out all over the place and getting separated from the card itself!) Isn't that a great idea? If you search their "story cards" you will see a whole variety of cards that have this feature.

And I think this one really reflects the reason for the season: http://www.shutterfly.com/cards-stationery/cards-stationery/good-blessings-religious-christmas-5x7-folded-card?fg=256&sortType=1&storeNode=93476&fe=1

This one also has space to write a little something inside (although just a short message on this one). And the cover has 3 spaces for 3 little faces. Perfect for our family. :)

Here's another idea - I like the simplicity of this one, the variety of photos you could use for this card .... and I LOVE the monogram. I think monograms are so classy, don't you? http://www.shutterfly.com/cards-stationery/cards-stationery/family-wall-red-christmas-card-5x7-flat?fg=384&sortType=1&storeNode=93476&fe=1

Honestly, there are a lot of options to choose from. I don't know quite how I will choose!

I also have to make a plug for the photo books. I just ordered a photo book that I made of Chloe's first year, and it turned out great! (I will add - I was having trouble using the code for a discount and called customer service, and they were VERY helpful. I was so glad to not have to hassle about it.) Photo books are also currently 20% off and they make good gifts too.

Okay, now on to the good news. Shutterfly is offering all bloggers 50 FREE 5x7 flat or folded stationerycards in exchange for a blog post on their stuff. Since I have been happy with my Shutterfly experiences for many years now, I was happy to do this. If you want to take part too, go to join in on the free offer: http://blog.shutterfly.com/5358/holiday2010-blog-submission-form/!

Thank you Shutterfly!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Art Show

Audrey's artwork (from school) was selected to be a part of the local art show this past weekend!
Here she is with her "African shield". :)

(Her friend Kaitlyn also was selected and her Leaf picture is above Audrey's!)

I was very happy for her that she was selected. I think lately she has been feeling a little lost in the sea of humanity that is her elementary school. So I'm glad there was something special that she did and that she could be excited about.


Friday, November 5, 2010

What to do, what to do ...

... with all the Halloween candy in your house?

[it is calling my name as I type ... "eat me, eat me" ... I WILL resist ...]

Well, I for one do not want to gain 15 lbs. from eating it, especially BEFORE Christmas even arrives, because it is a given that I will probably gain a few over the holidays.

Luckily, I have a few ideas about how to rid the house of the excess.

First - take all the little non-chocolate pieces (lollipops, pixy stix, starburst, etc.) and stash them away. (A few at a time so the kids don't notice, ha!) Then ... if you are hosting a birthday party or something in the next 6 months ... use them in the pinata or goodie bags. Not that I have EVER done this. Ahem.

Second - take the chocolatey pieces, put them in a big old ziploc bag and stash them in the freezer. As before, a few at a time. This way it is hard to give into temptation, and you can dole it out a few pieces at a time over the next few months. Not that I have ever battled this temptation myself. Ahem.

Third - use them up in your Christmas baking. This is my favorite idea. 'Cause I love to bake... and especially for Christmas!

Got Hershey bars? Melt them up and drizzle them over almost anything and you look like a gourmet. Or dip pretzels, oreos, etc. in them and roll in sprinkles.

Got Snickers bars? There is an awesome cookie recipe I call Santa Surprises that uses them (and you could substitute Milky Ways and 3 Musketeers easily as well. And you don't really need the minis, you could always cut the fun size in half too.) Drizzle aforementioned Hershey bars and some Christmas sprinkles over top of these babies and you have one delicious Christmas cookie. Just a note - for the recipe, click on the word Santa Surprises above. For some reason the link will not highlight itself! AARGH!

Got Reese's Peanut Butter Cups? (Nah, me either. Already gone ... but some of you might not have a weakness for them like we do here...) Here is another great cookie recipe that uses them. Or here's another. Make them, put some red and green sprinkles on top, and voila! Christmas cookies. Give them as gifts. Or eat them yourself!

Got M&M's? Pick out the red and green ones and then you have Christmas M&M's! (Just kidding - who has time or is crazy enough to do THAT??)

We also have lots of Kit Kat's around and I'm not sure what to do with those ... other than just eat them. Or give them away!

Okay seriously now. If you have candy that you just don't want - many shelters will take them and use them for their residents. Both Audrey's & Carter's schools have sent home notices that we could send candy in if we wished. So don't throw it out ... someone can surely use it, even if that isn't you!

Enjoy!!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trick or Treat!

I just cannot believe Halloween is already here and gone. This means that in the blink of an eye, it will be Thanksgiving and then Christmas.

This makes me very happy because I love both of those holidays! But sad because before you know it, they will both be over and the long winter will set in...

Well, let's not worry about that now. We had a very fun evening trick or treating with friends! The kids made out like bandits! Even Chloe got in on the action. It didn't take her long to figure out that ... smiling + looking cute = people handing you candy. :)

Before the "hard work" of trick or treating, the kids needed to power up with some dinner. So Audrey & I made these little mummy hot dogs. (It's just crescent roll dough strips wrapped around hot dogs with 2 dots of mustard for eyes.)

Next up: time for some photos.

My leopard, flower and spiderman



The kids with their neighborhood friends

And they're off!

2 hours later ...
The kids with their respective candy stashes.
It's ridiculous how much candy we have.
And this does not include the candy Chloe collected (although she quit long before they were done trick or treaating.)

A fun night for us all!
Happy Halloween everyone!

Boys will be boys

The other morning Carter came out of the bathroom looking like this.
Why?

Well, didn't you know that wearing your underwear on your head is really fun?

[I didn't - but I think I will just take his word for it.]