Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Celebration!

Is it possible that Christmas has come and now gone? Are we really at the end of 2007? The past week has been a whirlwind of shopping, family gatherings, eating, playing games, laughing and the midst of all that, contemplating and celebrating the birth of our Savior.

We had the chance to watch the Nativity Story with the girls this year. To my amazement, they sat through the whole movie! We watched it with my mom and dad, and paused it several times to answer the girls' questions. It was really neat for my dad to be there to answer some of the more insightful questions that only a child thinks to ask. It was an important generational moment that I hope will be repeated for years to come. It was a special time.

Our Christmas is always shared between Gary & Cindy (Chris' parents) and my family. Both families have always done Christmas, traditionally, on Christmas Eve. So, to compromise, we have gone over to the Schultz' for the afternoon and early evening celebrating and opening presents with them.

Every year, Papa reads the Christmas story to begin the evening.

This year the girls got a new kitchen and table for the playroom at Nana and papa's!

Then we come back to my parents, for the evening.

This year we mae it home for Veraneki, a german-type perogie. It was awesome! Mom makes them one time a year...Christmas only. We didn't get them last year, so this was extra special.

Since the kids are getting older, we decided to incorporate them in the beginning of our adult time together. We had each of the older ones prepare a song to sing in front of everyone, and then, as a family we 'performed' a number as well. This year Kamryn sang 'Silent Night'. Addison sang 'Away From the Manger' and then as a family we sang - with actions - 'Jingle Bell Rock'! Kim and Dave did a number as well, with thier family. Here is a picture of my sister-in-law, Leah, and her son Shepard singing a song that Leah wrote for my Dad.

All in all, it was a time of great laughter and appreciation for that which God has blessed us with.

Once the kids had gone to bed all the adults in my family (10 in all) had time to sit around and 'Bless' one another with a gift and a written blessing. We pick names every year, but this year, instead of each of us recapping our year of the highs and lows, we decided to write a blessing to the person we had picked; so the gift was part of fun of it, but the best part was that each of us had to take the time to really think on that member of the family and express our prayer for them. It was a really neat time of sharing and one we will continue to do.

That night we put out cookies for Santa...
...and guess who showed up?!

Thank GOODNESS his suit is fire proof!

Christmas morning the girls openned up thier stockings and other gifts from Chris and I.

The rest of the day was filled with food, games and lots and lots of muching! It was a wonderful Christmas!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Continuing with Tradition

Ever since Kamryn was 2 yrs old, we've been painting an ornament at Christmas. This year is no different. It is our little tradition with the girls each year and they really enjoy it. Plus, it is so fun to pull them out of the box each Christmas and see how far they have come (in their painting and coloring skills, that is!).

Today was the day to decorate, and it was so fun to see Tessa getting into the act as well!

Christmas Photo Op!

This past sunday was the Christmas production at my Mom and Dad's church. We go every year as a family to watch the play/musical and at least one memeber of my family perform in it. It never fails, my Mom will always recruit one of my sister's or brother to be in her productions as she is the director, and often times, the writer of these presentations. Well, anyway, we went and it was great! My older bro, Jason, was a shephard and quite convincing at that!

After the service, everyone came over to Mom and Dad's house and we had lunch together. After that was when the big photo opportunity came. We took full advantage, tho Tessa was not quite up for it.

That evening we went to our church service at The Well. It was a great, home-town Christmas service; intimate, and casual. The kids were invited to stay in the service with us and free to be kids. It was a wonderful way to do service. After, we went outside for a candlelight singing and all the kids loved to hold the fire! Yikes!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Mom's And More Christmas Brunch

I am a table leader at our women's bible study at our church called Mom's and More. For our Christmas Brunch, each group had to decorate a table for the event. Our table started out quite meager, but as the pieces began to come together, it turned out to be quite spectacular. It was a wonderful morning of food, fellowship and we received nuggets of wisdom from our Mentor Mom's from each group.

Our centerpiece was a wire tree my sister Megan made when she was in highschool. She got so many compliments on the tree, that I suggested she go into business! :)

Kamryn's Christmas Program

Kamryn had her Christmas program at school this past week. It was so fun to see her up there singing with her class. We took pics of all the girls before we left for the show.

The pictures in the auditorium were a little dark, but you get the idea.

Another Birthday Party!

We celebrated Tessa's birthday again, the next day at Nana and Papa Schultz' house. Steph and Devon were there and we had a great afternoon together.

Tessa Turns 2!

We celebrated Tessa's 2nd Birthday on December 8th. When she woke up that morning, she was greeted with a boistrous round of "Happy Birthday To You!" Her response? "NOOOOO!" Maybe we should have given her a few minutes to find her 'happy face.' It ended up being a very busy day and in the evening we celebrated with our friends from Brazil, Chris and Cristiani Vega and thier 3 kids. Iloni and her fiance Jason also came and we had a wonderful time of watching the kids interact.

Tessa got a little farm for her birthday. She loved it! Here is her 'smile' for the camera.

Kim made her a beautiful Dora birthday cake. It was thoroughly enjoyed!

Here is Addison in her Princess Giselle dress from the movie "Enchanted." Her friend Bianca let her try it on and it took muscles to get her to take it off! A princess indeed!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Tessa's Masterpiece!

Tessa is one of those kids where, if you can't find her or she has been quiet too long, she is DEFINITELY up to something! Well, she outdid herself this time. Chris, the girls and I were having a nice time playing games and talking, when I asked..."hey, where is Tessa?" When I called her name, I heard a muffled, "Yeeehh?" I checked my room - clear (my purse was still intact), her room - clear. I opened the bathroom door and my jaw dropped. There she stood with this surprised, caught-in-the-act face. You can see it all in this picture, but she had taken a dry erase pen and drew all over the walls, tub and cupboards! And she had taken my jewlery and thrown it all over the floor. I couldn't speak.
After my silence, I did get the girls to help me clean up. They were real troopers.

The Girls got Haircuts!

While Chris was gone for a 5 day basketball tournament up north, the girls decided to surprise him by getting thier hair cut. We enlisted Gramma to do the dirty work. I must say, she did a pretty darn good job!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Kamryn's Thanksgiving Concert

Kamryn's 1st grade class had a Thanksgiving Feast. Here she stands ever so Kamryn-esque. Both Chris and I were able to go and see her perform.

Our Nebraska Trip!

Well, the time had finally come! Early Thursday morning, November 15, Chris drove Addison, Tessa, and I to the San Jose airport. We left at 3:00am and arrived there around 5:30am. Our flight took off at 7:40am. I was a little anxious to travel all by myself with my two little one, especially Tessa because she would be on my lap the whole way.

Well, after a 2 hr flight, we had a 2 1/2 hr layover in Denver. How do I keep a 4 yr old and a 2 yr old busy for two hours? Thanks to the advice of my friend Dorina, I stocked up on all kid necessities at the Dollar Store and the $1 isle at Target. Plus we walked all over the airports and rode the walking sidewalks several times. The next flight was another 2 hrs and we arrived in NE at 5pm. The girls always seemed to fall asleep just as we began to land. So i had some sleepy heads on my hands. As we got into the Omaha airport I got a text message from Chris asking me to call him ASAP! I guess Kamryn had tripped at school that day and had banged her head on a desk pretty badly. By the time she got on the phone, I was crying, she was crying, and now Tessa was crying and Addi was crying cuz she couldn't get her shoe on. I was a mess, the girls were a had been quite a day!

Relief came when Leah showed up and wisked us off to her farm outside Lincoln. I haven't seen my cousin in about 5 years. It was great to see her again and get to know her kids. Leah and her husband Anthony have 4 kids, Emily, Abigail, Anna and Isaac. We spent a lot of time outside on thier farm: swinging, catching a chicken (thanks to Emily!), petting and watering the horses, and just exploring. Addison even got to help the girls build a fort in the woods. Now that is not something she does everyday.
On Friday, we drove into Lincoln and went to the Children's museum. The kids had such a blast exploring and pretending away (Leah and I had fun being kids again too). We headed to my cousin's bakery (Leah's brothers), La Quartier Baking Company for lunch. I was amazed and how beautiful his setup was, and the bread was amazing! Seth is pictured here, I never did get a picture of John, he is the founder of the bakery and Seth does the books and helps in the store. They make a great team!
Saturday we slept in and played around the house and farm. In the afternoon, we headed to my uncle and aunts farm out in Henderson. It was about an hour drive and the babies were able to sleep. This is the farm where I visited as a kid and where Leah grew up. There are lots of memories here and I'm so glad I could bring my kids to see it. We went for a long walk and Addison helped Emily and Abigail pick up dried corn from the fields for the sheep and horses. It was a beautiful evening as the sun set.
Sunday was the wedding reception for my cousin Seth and his new bride, Sarah. She got to put her wedding dress back on to stunn us all. She looked beautiful!
We drove back to Leah's home Sunday night. I made the mistake of giving Tessa a tiny drink of some cold coffee and she was wired til 11pm. I will not be doing that again! On Monday, we drove into Lincoln to look at all the beautiful old houses and we took the kids to the park. They had a great time playing and swinging. We headed back to the bakery one more time for a fabulous lunch and then it was off to the airport.
Back in the airport the girls were excited to see Daddy and Kamryn. Addison had a hard time leaving Nebraska. She kept saying she wanted to live there forever and ever and ever....Maybe the midwest is in our future?
Kamryn asked if we would take her next time we got to Nebraska. So the can-collecting continues....