Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas 2011

Christmas Eve. Slower pace. Traditional trip out to breakfast with the kiddos. Talked with an old acquaintance about adoption, praying for her family. The children spent time outside with friends. Went to see the Best Christmas Pageant Ever - a family favorite! Finally, time for church. The children kept saying, "Wow! Today has flown by. I thought it was going to take forever to go by!"
Then it was home, a visit from a good friend, annual pajama/book opening, the reading of the Christmas Story and.....
a different little treat. Because my parents were not with us this year, my father recorded Twas the Night Before Christmas for the children to listen to on Christmas Eve before bed. In years past, he has always been with us for the reading so the book. Following the story and prayers, the kiddos all tucked in snuggly to their beds for the evening - all in the boys' room. MK in her sleeping bag, Maddox in her pack-n-play, the boys in their own beds and Finley amongst them all! Last year Colin had such a hard time going to sleep on Christmas Eve, to the point that I actually felt sorry for him. This year he swore off sweets and soft drinks throughout the day hoping to divert any emerging sleeping problems in the evening. It worked, he was able to go to sleep and awoke stating he couldn't believe how well he slept.
Good morning! Before long, there were loud and excited squeals from the stairs! Maddox just took it all in! The children all ran into the living room jumping for joy and grabbing this and that and jumping all around with excitement. Maddox grabbed one baby doll and held it as she just stared blankly at her siblings who were acting a bit out of the ordinary :)
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care....and then appropriately emptied within a matter of milliseconds!
Before long, it was time to give the new wheels a spin - who needs clothes???!!!
I loved the look of pure joy as the children unwrapped their gifts. There were a lot of "wants" that were given as well as a few surprises. The best part was hearing them tell one another thank you and give hugs! LOVE!
This pic pretty much sums MK's day up....she has wished for an umbrella since this time last year; her blue eye shadow was applied every hour on the hour from the time the gift was received - one can never have on quite enough ;); her daddy gave her a "music box" that she absolutely adores - we have heard the song play over and over and over and over and the little ballerina figurine just dances and dances inside; and the shoes, well, one can never have enough!
Last Christmas Eve, we went to bed as Maddox was awakening on Christmas Day in China. And then when we awoke on Christmas morning, she was going to bed, without us, us without glad she is home with us this year! She sang with me at church, she clapped for the children in the play, she loved unwrapping gifts, and all the while, she would come over and give hugs and kisses!
Throughout the day, we opened gifts. And played with new toys. And took a little nap. And watched some home movies.
Ryan gave me a set of dvds. The dvds were family movies from when the boys were much younger. The quote of the day goes to MK. While watching Colin get cleaned up after his birth, MK proclaimed, "Well, I am just glad I was not born of the tummy!"
It was a pj day in our home. Well, for most of us anyway. One of the girls did get dressed and the other decided to not wear any clothes at all!
This was Christmas Eve! The children were so excited. And happy. And they even agreed to take a pic under the tree.....
and then this happened! They love a good funny shot! Merry Christmas 2011!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Adam

Christmas Adam has been dubbed the day before the day before Christmas. Christmas Adam, Christmas Eve, Christmas.
Christmas Adam began with Matthew who suggested in his own little elfish way that we bake the day away. So, we did. We began with pancakes and the works, concocted reindeer food and ended with cookies for Santa and gingerbread houses for fun!
MK was first to make her reindeer food. The more the glitter, the better for her :)

Each child decorated a cookie for Santa.....Colin, a Christmas tree; Pryce a snowman with candy cane arms and a candy corn nose; MK - her was an assortment, I know the yellow Spree was to be a star and the pretzels were to be arms, and from there it is a toss up :); Maddox ate her cookie she made for Santa - no real surprise there! So I threw in my own rendition of a sugar cookie reindeer.
The children were so precise on their decor. They worked together. The boys on one house, the girls on the other. I am most positive that MK got the raw end of this deal. Maddox could be seen eating on the job. In fact, she was caught quite a few times taking her decor, smearing it through the icing on the house and then licking the icing off! Ewww.
The boys were quite meticulous. They drew up their plan and never looked back.
With MK on the job, the girls' house had potential.
Meanwhile, on the other side - notice the cookie in Maddox's mouth!
The boys.
The girls.

All done. All happy and sugared up. Love these four guys!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Cookies Anyone?

Thankfully it is the holiday season. A season where I tend to look the other way when my children are surrounded by sweet after sweet after sweet and I just let them eat, eat, eat....
Cookie decorating can take a turn of its own when done by a 4 year old :)
The strategies that these kiddos put into place during their decorating frenzy would make even the best of the best decorators cringe with envy.
We are pretty sure that some plates were rightfully decorated as well.....
and I love that some were so dainty with their choices....
and each bite taken was a delicacy within itself!
Love the look of the reindeer - what a clever little idea!
Pink sprinkles were a must for our divas who ridded themselves of their holiday best to put on their most beautiful princess attire.....
Another favorite for Maddox....I am pretty sure cookie decorating is at the top of her "must do again" holiday list....
Finally, the big brothers showed up! There was a lot of football going on out back but their hunger pains got the best of them and they decided cookie decorating was not too shabby....
Ta-Da! The red couch photo - these guys are all growing up so, so fast! Unbelievable! We are so blessed to have each and every one of them in our lives. We love these guys and we love that we were given the opportunity to celebrate with them during this special season of Christmas!

Post-party: Though Maddox is pretending to sleep in the doll bed in this particular pic, she did in fact fall asleep here after everyone left!

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Carolina Christmas

For the first time in my 38 years of life, I will be without my parents on Christmas. As I have stated before, I grew up with a very traditional Christmas....Christmas Eve was always spent at my mother's parents' home, we then drove to our home and everyone gathered together once again on Christmas morning; then, my grandparents got a bit older and the tradition moved to my parent's home - Christmas Eve gathering with friends and family followed by Christmas Day with everyone; and then, the tradition changed again and we moved the Christmas Eve party to our house, my parents have always come for Christmas Eve service, my father has always read to the boys the Christmas Story and Twas the Night Before Christmas, the children have always gotten pjs and books to open from Gran, and so on and so on and so on.....though I know I must share my parents, I also know that I don't like to share them at Christmas :) I feel as though I have been robbed. And I digress.
So, in order to celebrate Christmas extended-family-style, we crossed the border to SC and then bounced from house to house throughout the weekend taking in time with both sides of our family.
We opened a few unique gifts that we were super excited about....
and we spent some time outdoors in the beautiful southern weather......
and then we received a few surprises......
and some gifts that have been desired for months!
And though our little Maddox was not feeling the best, she endured the weekend like a champ!
We ended our SC travels with my father's family with the guest of honor being my grandmother. At the age of 91, she remains sharp as a tack and her biggest smiles come when the children engage her with their many antics.

Little M was in need of a nap earlier than expected today. She was obviously more than tired but not so tired as to let go of the stylish purse she had been wandering about with all morning.
(If you had been a fly on our wall today, you would know that the most endearing part of this picture is not the purse or her sweet little sleeping face, it is actually the shoes. Maddox has an opinion about her shoes and she must change shoes at least 10 times a day. She always puts them on the right foot which is an art for a two year old. Today, her shoes of choice were these old sandals....nevermind the fact that our temp today was less than 55 degrees! Alas, I kept hiding these from her and everytime I turned around, she had them on again!)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Today was a day for MK. She rarely gets my undivided attention AND her father's undivided attention at the same time. Very rarely. So today we took time to indulge her and we surprised her at school to sing Happy Birthday Jesus and eat cake. After wrapping her gifts and getting her face painted, it was onto bigger and better things.....celebrating Jesus's birthday with friends.
Having daddy there was a treat. And when he told her he was going to be home for the rest of the day without returning to work, MK looked at him with her "what-chou talkin bout, Willis?" face.....and then followed this face with giggles of happiness.
The children gobbled up their cake and performed a few songs for us.....this was our favorite, something about a melody???? It was hilarious watching a room full of four year olds dance, each with their own little sprig of uniqueness.

With shouts of joy and mountains of laughter, the day came to an end. The children filed out one by one and all look forward to a long winter's break!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Share the Light, one of our favorite times of the season. Each year, our church sponsors children for Christmas and they have a special evening service where all donors come to give their gifts. The children sing, the scripture is read, the sermon is spoken and then the gifts are taken down to the alter. And it will warm anyone's heart to see the givers so excited about giving.
These guys were some of the excited givers. This year we chose two children, a boy and a girl. One by one I took them shopping to choose what they would like to give to their chosen children. P was so sweet the entire shopping trip. He would suggest a gift and then, thinking it through, he would ask questions like, "Well, do you think we should get him a helmet?" "What if he lives in a place without a yard?" "If we give him clothes, will he be able to wash them?" Loved this time with all of my children, watching them choose the perfect gifts and seeing the light in their eyes when they realized the happiness they were going to put on someone else's face - LOVED it!
Twas the night of the service, when all thru the house.....
MK was so happy to be in the program. She is our little performer, both on stage and off.
My parents were able to come for the service to see the children sing. In between the caroling, my dad happily entertained our youngest.
Following the service, the children were "starving" so who was I to say no to a visit to Krispy Kreme. Maddox has the sweetest tooth of all of my children!
Gran and the children plus baby. The poor babies in our home, they are never found with clothes on!

And to all a good night! These little boos were all tuckered out following our busy day!